Expo session: Advanced advertising starts to jell
Thursday’s Expo session “Advanced Advertising – Making it a Reality” was a soup-to-nuts look at the status of advanced advertising in terms of using it for the on-demand and linear platforms, as well as the types of interfaces and specifications that are needed to make it all work.
Comcast’s Walt Michel, executive director in the office of the CTO, pinch hit on the panel for CableLabs’ Frank Sandoval, who was snowbound yesterday morning. Michel went over Stewardship and Fulfillment Interfaces (SaFI) while using Sandoval’s presentation.
“SaFI is really meant to be an enabling set of interfaces that sit between the MSOs and the trunk systems, or to Canoe and other external third parties that want to conduct business with one or more MSOs,” Michel said. “It really enables accessibility to our platforms and our capabilities, things like ETV and tru2way.”
Michel said Canoe Ventures, the national advertising joint venture that was funded by the top-six MSOs in the nation, would be the first major user of the SaFI interfaces. The SaFI interfaces also work in conjunction with other standards and specifications, such as CableLabs’ VOD metadata.
Adam Tom, co-founder and executive vice president of RGB Networks, went over the results of a trial during an interop held at CableLabs in June that relied on SCTE standards 35 and 130. Using both of the standards, Tom showed how overlays were applied in on-demand asset in pre-roll, mid-roll and post roll.
“It went very smoothly and was successful,” Tom noted.
Tom said the overlays could also be used for EAS messaging in on-demand, as well as targeting by geography or demographics, or down to specific viewers.
Presenting with Tom was Bruce Dilger, vice president of R&D and chief architect of advanced advertising systems at OpenTV.
“All of this is in terms of fulfillment of local advertising opportunities,” Dilger said. “[It’s] the ability to insert ads locally at an MSO to take advantage of the advertising opportunities that are generally presented by a cable network or some other program provider.”
Dilger gave the example of a baseball game that gets rained out. Under the current system, which he said has been in place for 30 years, the same ads would run during a Three Stooges movie to the chagrin of the advertisers. With the new standards, rich data can be placed in packets based on the actual programming that is running, which would include additional advertising opportunities if a baseball game went into extra innings.
As for where the cable industry is with deploying the new technologies for advanced advertising, Tom said trials were ongoing and more will be learned at an upcoming CableLabs interop next month. The different segments of SCTE 130 are also in the process of being finalized.
Michel pointed to upcoming product announcements from Canoe Ventures, which reportedly will include a launch of an EBIF product sometime this year.
“We are actively deploying EBIF,” Michel said of Comcast’s efforts. “In a few markets we’ve been running advanced advertising in more of a traditional model. We also are using SCTE 130 in a few projects in the linear space, as well as in the on-demand space. We’re watching the interops very carefully.”