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AlcaLu Mad for MSO Ad Market

Ray Le Maistre
LR Cable News Analysis
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief
3/26/2009

LONDON -- IPTV World Forum -- Having developed an interactive media platform for its IPTV customer base, Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) has turned its attentions to the North American cable operator market.

AlcaLu, expected to announce the details of those intentions next week at the giant Cable Show in Washington, has been developing its own interactive advertising capabilities since it acquired British specialist Tamblin in September 2007. (See AlcaLu Buys IPTV Apps Specialist and AlcaLu 'Ads' to Its TV Program.)

The result is the Alcatel-Lucent 5930 Interactive Media Manager, a product being trialed by Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) and Telefónica SA (NYSE: TEF). (See DT Tests AlcaLu IPTV and Telefónica Trials Interactive Ads.)

But there are ripe opportunities in the U.S. cable operator market as MSOs look to add extra revenue-generating capabilities to their advertising systems and create a common approach to interactivity, according to Rik Missault, VP of multimedia and ventures in AlcaLu's Carrier Business Group.

The highest-profile cable advanced ad projects involve Canoe Ventures LLC , an MSO consortium that's leading off with an addressable advertising product and campaign that will allow advertisers to target their spots based on demographic data. Canoe is expected to follow that later this year with an interactive campaign based on Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format (EBIF) that will allow viewers to request more information about advertised products with the click of the remote. (See Canoe Rows Toward Enhanced TV .)

"There is a lot of activity in the U.S. cable market around interactivity," and AlcaLu believes it has a suite of capabilities that suit the needs of the cable players, Missault told Light Reading.

At the 2008 Telco TV show, AlcaLu hinted at some possible cable ambitions when it showed off an ad-splicing blade based on Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) standards covering not just cue tones and digital ad splicing, but a newer standard (SCTE-130) that defines targeting and serves as the blueprint for advanced advertising. (See Cable Scouting Report: TelcoTV '08.)

So will AlcaLu be pushing the same capabilities in the European cable market?

Not just yet, says Missault. "We will do that later. The European market is very fragmented. There's no sense of urgency among Europe's cable operators for interactivity. The main interest in Europe comes from the IPTV players," says the AlcaLu man.

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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