Video services

Canoe Experiments With VoD Ads

Canoe Ventures LLC , the cross-MSO advanced advertising joint venture, is testing ways to dynamically insert ads into video-on-demand (VoD) programming as it seeks to enhance its national platform and bring in fresh revenues. (See Canoe, CableLabs Launch AdLab.)

It's the first proof-of-concept initiative underway at the Innovation Lab that Canoe Ventures introduced in February. The lab will create prototypes and evaluate new systems and services that could land on its longer-term product roadmap and tap into CableLabs platforms such as Enhanced TV Binary Interchange Format (EBIF) and tru2way. (See Canoe, CableLabs Launch AdLab.)

One aim of that work is to ensure interoperability across multiple vendors' gear and, perhaps someday, get the technology applied toward a common national platform usable by all cable operators and programmers.

Cable operators and programmers are eager to use dynamic VoD ads so they can switch and insert spots on the fly rather than having to prepare everything several weeks in advance. Ads can rapidly lose their relevance, which is one of the reasons why VoD advertising has been sluggish.

Some MSOs and vendors have run small tests or deployments, but that work hasn't achieved the level of cross-vendor interoperability that Canoe is pursuing. (See Comcast Gets Dynamic With VoD Ads and Charter Tests Dynamic VOD Ads.)

Canoe's "open" advertising effort is only in the lab, but it's drawn participation from vendors of system components such as video servers and splicers, ad decision managers and servers, ad campaign managers, and content information services. Some of the initial vendors involved in that work include Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), OpenTV Corp. (Nasdaq: OPTV), Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), and Texscan-MSI.

Canoe is also trying to enlist Concurrent Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: CCUR) and its Media Data & Advertising Solutions (MDAS) division (which came way of Concurrent's purchase of Everstream in 2005) as well as BlackArrow Inc. , a maker of campaign manager products, says Canoe chief technology officer Arthur Orduña.

"We're putting out a message that we'd like to work with programmers and with their system vendors... to start proofing out how we can do [dynamic VoD ads] and start generating these services and start generating revenue," Orduña says.

Everything Canoe is working on with VoD is using gear that adheres to SCTE-130, the SCTE standard for digital ad insertion.

Break for this
Canoe's VoD advertising work has also produced a business opportunity for a New York-based startup -- This Technology LLC . Canoe has licensed SpotBuilder, the company's Placement Opportunity Information Service (POIS) software, which defines and communicates advanced ad opportunities to any campaign management system. It's the first formal POIS agreement for This Technology, which is in lab or field trials with a number of still-unnamed MSOs.

Canoe liked This Technology's POIS implementation because it has shown itself to be modular and capable of working with campaign management systems from multiple suppliers, Orduña says. Assuming Canoe remains satisfied, there's nothing to prevent it from including This Technology as a piece of its future commercial platform.

However, Orduña stressed that all of Canoe's vendor relationships are non-exclusive, so other POIS implementations will be considered as long as they comply with SCTE-130 and demonstrate interoperability with other vendor components.

Canoe hasn’t indicated when it might turn its VoD ad pursuits into a commercial endeavor. In the meantime, it's getting ready to launch its first national request for information (RFI) using EBIF, and it recently announced its first programming partners for the effort. (See Networks Climb In With Canoe.)

Orduña says Canoe is "is on track" to launch the RFI product in the first half of 2010. In case you missed it, here's what he had to say about the Innovation Lab and RFI product when Light Reading Cable caught up with him earlier this month at The Cable Show:

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

COMMENTS Add Comment
hhawk 12/5/2012 | 4:34:44 PM
re: Canoe Experiments With VoD Ads

It's no secret but once we can get dynamic VOD media buying companies/ad agencies can not only role out whole campaigns but they can do market tests. When combined with interactive ads, the next next level opens up which includes actual ad testing. 

Whole story is being able to test spots, pick the right ones, and while rolling out the campaign being able to have a continuous monitoring of its effectiveness using modeling to prevent burn out, introduce spot rotation and spot alterations, etc.

hhawk 12/5/2012 | 4:34:43 PM
re: Canoe Experiments With VoD Ads

Jeff, exactly. back in 1992 I did my thesis "Scenarios for the Future of Advertising as Related to Future Media and Future Media Infrastructure" and thought a lot about that problem.

I believe that the real solution to video ads (TV, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, etc.) is showing FEWER ads, that have much more effectiveness and efficiency. When you can combine interactivity with that, you can start to measure things and actually build relationship between viewers and brands. 

I feel that ads baked into VOD today have such huge burn out that they are counter productive for heavy VOD users, esp. now that major channels like ABC & NBC VOD are locking out fast forward, etc.


Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:34:43 PM
re: Canoe Experiments With VoD Ads

Cable VoD needs this capability, badly, for the reasons you point out... and having something that's "open" and multi-vendor is a plus.  If an ad is performing badly, as one example, it doesn't give advertisers much recourse if they can't change make a quick change or adjustment versus having to deal with an underpeforming ad  that's baked into the vod asset and can't be swapped for days, weeks, or longer. JB

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:34:40 PM
re: Canoe Experiments With VoD Ads

Fewer, more effective ads? I'm all for that.  JB

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:34:39 PM
re: Canoe Experiments With VoD Ads

CableLabs dropped me a note to mention that CableLabs and SCTE interops have been testing dynamic VoD ad insertion for the past year, and that the next event is scheduled for the week of June 14. Canoe will be part of that, but I was reminded that Canoe's involvement will be product-oriented, while CableLabs' work is oriented toward true interoperability testing. JB

hhawk 12/5/2012 | 4:34:38 PM
re: Canoe Experiments With VoD Ads

I think we are a long way to fewer ads, and of course they will be more expensive if they work better, so that's also a long education struggle because if we are buying by the CPM then well cheaper is always better?

I have always maintained that the lessons learned through online / internet advertising will help educate and train the media buyers for the future of TV ads.

In terms of less ads perhaps we are 5 or 10 years away from that...

Sign In