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When Will Cable's Advanced Ad Plan Pop?

Light Reading
LR Cable News Analysis
Light Reading
11/17/2011
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ATLANTA -- SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2011 -- Is this the year for advanced advertising in the cable industry? Well, no, but Canoe Ventures LLC Vice President Bruce Dilger says that by 2013, the industry should be able to look back and deem the efforts of the cross-MSO advanced ad venture a success.

Dilger, a speaker here on a panel about cable's advanced advertising and multi-screen ambitions, said two to three cable operators are planning to deploy Canoe's new platform for dynamic video-on-demand (VoD) ad insertion in 2012. Canoe's interactive platform, which currently uses Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format (EBIF) so it can run on all classes of digital set-tops, already reaches 25 million households. (See Canoe Boots Up Interactive Ad Campaign , Canoe Experiments With VoD Ads and Comcast Signals New Ad Era for VoD.)

Dynamic ad insertion is poised to generate revenues for cable's VoD platform following years of stops, starts and trials with the technology. BigBand Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: BBND) Vice President John Reister said part of the delay in getting dynamic VoD advertising off the ground is because it's taken time to get advertisers to embrace the potential of cable VoD.

Advertisers currently rely on C3 ratings to measure the average viewership for a commercial during live TV debut, plus three days of DVR playback. That's created a hurdle for VoD advertising, and Reister says the cable industry has to overcome it by providing better data. Enhanced measurement will help give advertisers an incentive to move to VoD, and, more specifically, to a targeted VoD advertising platform.

Canoe's VoD effort will also help out by shifting away from rigid, legacy systems that make it difficult and time-consuming to splice ads into an on-demand program. The new dynamic system will let advertisers swap out ads within a 24-hour window and allow them to substitute different ads at different times, and target "virtual" ad zones -- clusters of specific groups of subscribers that aren't defined by fixed geographic boundaries.

But using such data makes privacy advocates nervous, even if cable operators and organizations like Canoe don't use personally identifying information to create addressable/targeted ads.

Dilger stressed that Canoe has been conscious of those concerns as it continues to deploy its request for information (RFI) campaigns, which let customers obtain more information about an advertised product using their remote controls. All consumer requests are sent to a bonded fulfillment house, and advertisers and programmers never see any personal data.

Dilger also said that the initial iteration of Canoe's VoD platform will not include household- or demographic-level addressability. But if future versions do, advertisers will only ever get broad household qualifiers that, for example, would tell them if the residents own or rent their house or whether there are children in the home.

— Mari Silbey, Special to Light Reading Cable



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DCITDave
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DCITDave,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:48:44 PM
re: When Will Cable's Advanced Ad Plan Pop?


it seems to me if marketers just make really obvious assumptions -- women watch OWN and Lifetime, men watch ESPN -- they'd be better off than trying to wait for the cable industry to figure out how to be more like the Internet (15 years too late).


ph

msilbey
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msilbey,
User Rank: Blogger
12/5/2012 | 4:48:32 PM
re: When Will Cable's Advanced Ad Plan Pop?


There's a certain truth to that. And that fact is part of why targeted advertising hasn't moved faster. There's little urgency because folks figure change is difficult and things are good enough. That said, operators are very clear that they need advanced advertising in order to pull in new revenue to support network upgrades and efforts around multi-screen delivery. I believe Bruce made the point (quoting someone whose name I don't remember) that change occurs when the crisis exceeds the perceived pain of adoption. We're approaching that crisis point, even if it's not here yet. 





msilbey
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msilbey,
User Rank: Blogger
12/5/2012 | 4:48:32 PM
re: When Will Cable's Advanced Ad Plan Pop?


There's a certain truth to that. And that fact is part of why targeted advertising hasn't moved faster. There's little urgency because folks figure change is difficult and things are good enough. That said, operators are very clear that they need advanced advertising in order to pull in new revenue to support network upgrades and efforts around multi-screen delivery. I believe Bruce made the point (quoting someone whose name I don't remember) that change occurs when the crisis exceeds the perceived pain of adoption. We're approaching that crisis point, even if it's not here yet. 





DCITDave
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DCITDave,
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12/5/2012 | 4:48:31 PM
re: When Will Cable's Advanced Ad Plan Pop?


I doubt that there will be much more revenue from advanced advertising for operators vs. just smartly packaging what they have now and what they know now about what they have.


Hey, Mr. Advertiser, would you like to sell moisturizing bath gel? Let's not do that during MMA Week on Spike. Let's do that during the America's Top Model re-run-a-thon on WE.


Really, folks, is advertising that complex? I know you all want us to think it is, but I think common sense and clever packaging will trump anything technology can show us for a couple of decades to come.


Wanna sell to kids? Buy cartoon timeslots. Not slasher movie marathons. And we need an interactive ad system to tell us this?


Good luck, cable industry.


ph

AESerm
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AESerm,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:48:31 PM
re: When Will Cable's Advanced Ad Plan Pop?


Mari, I think the quote was from Coburn, "The Change Function." Worth noting that dyanamic ad insertion on VOD platform already is happening. Comcast began without Canoe (though the two efforts should be complementary.) Virgin Media in the UK has been at it for about two years, sans Canoe or a full-fledged SCTE 130 ecosystem. They are high value avails because advertisers fly blind so often (yes, Phil, they get the ESPN/guy thing already!) So they're interested in reducing waste and increasing engagement. But the pain of adoption (Coburn's quote) for operators remains a hurdle--or more like the feared pain. Think beyond cable for sec. Does an AT&T want to jeopardize its massive customer base (in wireless) with front-page WSJ story on how they've adopted creepy Google-esque data mining techniques for relatively small rev potential? Absolutely not, as I've been told. Ad rev is high margin, so attractive; the trick, as all realize, is to enable smarter ads without tripping privacy wires. But it's doable.

DCITDave
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DCITDave,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:48:30 PM
re: When Will Cable's Advanced Ad Plan Pop?


MNF fans are watching Thursday night football on the NFL Network. Glee fans are watching something with Kathie Griffin or Cher in it. :)


Dynamic ad insertion does seem smart when an asset has been requested and you're acting on information provided by the user. I guess I need to educate myself as to how much cable companies are leaving on the table by just ignoring advanced advertising and selling better packaged ad buys.


ph

AESerm
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AESerm,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:48:30 PM
re: When Will Cable's Advanced Ad Plan Pop?


You're right about packaging. So what are Monday Night Football fans watching on Thurs night? Or Glee fans watching on Fri? That data is useful and avaiable. Definitely possible to overthink this. But what Virgin has been doing on VOD platform doesn't seem that complicated. And it makes sense. If you can't insert dynamically, you're wasting an asset.

paolo.franzoi
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paolo.franzoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:48:30 PM
re: When Will Cable's Advanced Ad Plan Pop?


Uh...Neilsen ratings?  Don't the media companies basically have all of this already?


seven


 

craigleddy
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craigleddy,
User Rank: Blogger
12/5/2012 | 4:48:29 PM
re: When Will Cable's Advanced Ad Plan Pop?


Regarding your earlier question, is advertising that complex? Yes it is, because the advertising business makes it so.


Advertising exists in an open marketplace of negotiation in which advertising clients, ad agencies, media reps and networks are in a constant power struggle. Every dollar is hard fought.


I used to be a consultant in this arena and was amazed at how the involved parties could debate over audience reach, efficiency and other metrics incessantly. Nielsen is just a pawn in the game that gives everyone something more to argue over.


So if a new technology comes along that increases audience engagement and accurate measurement, then it gives the user of that technology more power in the marketplace and potentially a larger piece of the revenue pie. The danger is that, even if cable or others provide some wonderful new technology, the advertising community itself can argue over it to the point of extinction.


And you just thought this was about watching MNF and wearing a clown wig! 


 






 


     

DCITDave
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DCITDave,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:48:29 PM
re: When Will Cable's Advanced Ad Plan Pop?


Great points. And I'd love to pick your brain on this sometme. Meanwhile, I'll cling to my observation that the advertising industry is the music industry, but without a product that I enjoy.

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