Addressable advertising is about to become a prime-time player thanks to Enhanced Binary Interchange Format (EBIF) applications.

Time Warner Cable’s Steve Riedl, a principal architect, said in one of the sessions at the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo that interactive applications enhance the subscribers’ viewing experiences, lower churn and lead to new revenue streams for cable operators.

The key to EBIF, which was developed as part of CableLabs’ OpenCable initiative, is it works with legacy set-top boxes. Riedl said that while Time Warner Cable has about one million tru2way set-top boxes deployed, EBIF will allow addressable ads on the company’s 30 to 40 million legacy set-top boxes.

“We’ve had a few trials this year, and we expect to have wide deployment next year,” Riedl said of EBIF.

Enhanced TV (ETV) applications will utilize SCTE 130 to give programmers a platform on a national scale. Advertisers will benefit from subscribers interacting with the various ads, which include voting and polling during shows, requests for product information, the insertion of local overlays and ad telescoping.

Time Warner Cable subscribers will be able to telescope into an ad and then return to their TV shows by using the company’s Start Over technology.

Motorola’s Roy Hasson, a customer solutions architect, said during his presentation that the cable industry needs to provide the same level of interactivity that subscribers are currently getting from Web sites. Hasson said that the viewing experience needs to be the same whether it’s on PCs, TVs or mobile devices.

“The cable industry needs to become a utility that everyone needs,” Hasson said.

One example Hasson cited was opening up cable programming assets to the Internet, instead of just focusing on bringing Internet videos to TVs. If a viewer sees a clip of a show on Comcast’s Fancast portal, they should be able to access the entire show on their

PCs, which will give the cable operator up sell opportunities.

Hasson said that there also needs to be open standards in order for developers to be able to create new applications simultaneously for TVs, PCs and mobile devices.

“At the end of the day, if [cable operators] do all of these things, they’ll increase their revenues,” Hasson said.

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