AT&T is starting to deploy BigBand Networks' Media Services Platform (MSP) as it cues up local ad insertions across its footprint.
AT&T has the system operational in one more than one metropolitan market and is likely to introduce the capability in new markets at a pace of several DMAs a month, according to BigBand chief IPTV architect John Reister.
BigBand's MSP has already gained traction with some cable operators, but the deal with AT&T marks the first time that a telco has opted for the platform. BigBand expects AT&T to become a material customer for the first time in the second half of this year as AT&T's IPTV ad insertion gears up.
In its most recent first-quarter earnings call, Amir Bassan-Eskenazi, president and CEO of BigBand Networks, said the company expected its MSP offerings to help the company turnaround its financial fortunes later this year.
Reister said that in working with AT&T, BigBand has developed expertise supporting IPTV implementations based on Microsoft's MediaRoom.
He declined to comment on potential deployments with IPTV distributors other than AT&T, but he did observe that MediaRoom is widely used by video companies around the globe.
BigBand's MSP-based advertising platform can help operators increase advertising revenues by supporting specific markets via the preparation and splicing of local ads into national program feeds. BigBand recently announced that its advertising offerings supported more than 1 billion ad transactions in the last year for North American cable operators.
"The MSP was built from the ground up to provide media processing, such as local area ad insertion, on a scalable and flexible platform. Our vision and platform approach enable service providers to deliver differentiated, highly personalized services," said Paul Crann, senior vice president of product line management at BigBand Networks. "As digital advertising models continue to evolve, we will endeavor to build new, innovative products that can capture new revenue streams for our service provider customers, while opening up a large market opportunity for BigBand."
The BigBand MSP-based advertising offering includes the preparation and transcoding of ad assets, ad splicing into linear TV streams, event reporting to traffic and billing systems, and management using BigBand's Video Management System software.
The MSP application also operates completely within the digital domain and splices ads into streams encrypted for a variety of network environments. This reduces the cost and complexity associated with ad insertion since decrypting, splicing and re-encrypting are no longer required.
In February, Comcast Spotlight, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable, and AT&T Advanced Ad Solutions, the national advertising sales division of AT&T, announced a deal that allowed Comcast Spotlight to sell local advertising on the AT&T U-verse TV service in selected markets where both Comcast and AT&T currently provide television service.