When Will Cable's Advanced Ad Plan Pop?
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