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Video services

Comcast Puts Radiance to Work

The Comcast Media Center (CMC) put up $5 million last fall to nab "asset delivery" systems specialist Radiance Technologies Inc., and now the Colorado-based division of Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is looking to get a return on that investment with a new digital ad delivery platform. (See CMC Buys Radiance.)

Targeted to cable MSOs, programmers, TV stations, post-production houses, and ad agencies, the new software-driven "AdDelivery" system aims to bring advertising delivery (for both standard- and high-def spots) out of the Stone Age. (See Radiance Unveils Ad Platform.)

All those partners need to participate is a PC with a broadband connection outfitted with the Radiance client, says CMC SVP and COO Gary Traver.

As it already does with digital services like video-on-demand (the Center delivers more than 9,000 VoD "assets" per month in SD and HD), the CMC takes care of the heavy lifting, transcoding those spots into the format required by the customer and handling elements like quality assurance before the spots are blasted to their final destinations via broadband.

Because it's all-digital, AdDelivery also eliminates the need for manually delivering the ads on tape, which is still the format largely used for HD advertising distribution. And the CMC considers that a green move. "Tape is a blight on our environment," Traver says.

He also insists that tech underpinnings of AdDelivery will be in synch with the requirements of Canoe Ventures LLC (the big cross-MSO advanced ad joint venture) and new Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) standards centered on targeted ads and other forms of advanced and interactive advertising. (See Canoe Rows Toward Enhanced TV .)

"We fully intend to support and drive the delivery of content… to enable the advanced advertising industry forward," Traver notes.

As a final point, the CMC claims the new all-digital system will cut down delivery costs. Although HD ads represent just 3 percent of inventory, they account for 20 percent of the total distribution costs, Traver says, noting that AdDelivery aims to come in at about half or less of the costs the current market is bearing. "I think, as an entry, that's pretty good."

The CMC doesn’t have any customers announced for the new system, but some are already on board. "We have a sizable cable footprint right now."

Although the CMC is just getting started with this, the addressable market is fairly large. Traver estimates that the total ad distribution base consists of about 3,800 outlets, and more than 1 million ads (primary spots and their variants) are created in the U.S. each year.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News




Interested in learning more on this topic? Then come to Cable Next-Gen Video Strategies: Competing in the Three-Screen World, a one-day conference that will take a comprehensive look at the cable industry's attempts to generate revenues and fend off its rivals by deploying next-generation video technologies. To be staged in Atlanta, June 25, admission is free for attendees meeting our prequalification criteria. For more information, or to register, click here.


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