Ericsson, BlackArrow forge alliance
Ericsson and BlackArrow have integrated the former’s IPTV and TV Everywhere delivery platforms with the latter’s advertising systems.
The two companies said they recently worked together to enable a major Tier 1 pay TV service provider in North America to deploy dynamic ad insertion capabilities for VOD. They said they are also collaborating on a number of additional joint opportunities.
Ericsson and BlackArrow did not identify the customer. Ericsson has several Mediaroom customers in North America; the largest among them is AT&T U-verse.
The arrangement – which is not exclusive – has advantages for both. BlackArrow will be able to ride along on Ericsson’s global reach. Ericsson, meanwhile, can offer its pay TV customers an advertising system that can support targeted advertising and that also cuts across linear and on-demand delivery.
Current trends are making it critical to eliminate, or at least bridge, the silos between the two as pay TV providers forward, said BlackArrow president Nick Troiano.
Video providers had to quickly satisfy the demand for content on mobile devices, and the typical response was to create another separate system to deliver first to Apple iOS devices and then to Android devices.
One problem with that approach, Troiano explained, is that multi-screen viewing statistics and linear viewing numbers also tend to remain separate, making it difficult to provide total viewing numbers, which are critical for advertising purposes. An associated problem when linear and on-demand are in separate silos is that it makes it difficult to create effective advertising campaigns that integrate all viewing platforms.
A TV system that integrates delivery and advertising would solve that problem.
Even though multi-screen is popular, the vast majority of TV watching still occurs on TVs, however. But the rapid increase in time-shifting is making everyone involved in advertising keener to get viewing numbers that combine linear and and on-demand viewing.
A couple of years ago, advertisers wanted to see the C3 numbers – the viewing statistics for the three days starting with the initial broadcast of any show. But time-shifting is moving to a 7-day window. Troiano cited an article in the New York Times  that described how the first episode of “Sleepy Hollow” had a 3.4 rating overnight, expanded to a 5.1 a few days later, but scored a 5.8 in the 7-day window. The same article notes that the overnight viewing numbers for “The Bridge” double after a week once DVR viewing statistics are included.
By relying on C3 numbers (let alone just overnight stats), pay TV companies, who charge advertisers based on ratings, are leaving money on the table, Troiano explained. Both pay TV providers and advertisers are interested in getting aggregate numbers from on-demand viewing.
And that’s why BlackArrow and Ericsson thing that their collaboration is headed for imminent success. To deliver upon this new opportunity and consumer need, they said, content providers and pay TV service providers require a comprehensive advertising and audience data platform that can enable relevant and coordinated advertising campaigns across all devices, and they are interested in getting that sooner rather than later.
Working together, BlackArrow and Ericsson are enabling operators to benefit from an evolved end to end multi-screen advertising capability— developed to deliver linear, on-demand, interactive and second-screen advertising, in a targeted and personalized manner, across all connected devices.