An interactive TV advertising specialist is revving up to introduce a new ITV ad system that would work for cable operators, telco video providers, satellite TV providers, and connected -- or smart -- TV manufacturers across the US.
The company, Ensequence Inc. , intends to introduce the national ITV ad platform in the first quarter of 2014 with partners in most, if not all, of the four categories. Its plans call for unveiling that initial set of partners sometime in the fourth quarter and then moving ahead with launches with two or three players in each category. Its current service provider customers include Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), complink 901|Cablevision Systems Corp.}, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), DirecTV Group Inc. (NYSE: DTV), and Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH).
"We’re pretty deep with each of the four [categories]," says Ensequence CEO Peter Low. "We want to demonstrate that this is possible on all the platforms we’ve talked about, not just cable or satellite."
If all goes according to plan, Ensequence officials say they will launch the ad system early next year with a reach of 20 million interactive TV homes. They aim to expand that reach to as many as 40 million households by the end of 2014, giving them more than half of the estimated 75 million ITV-capable homes in the US.
As envisioned, the new ITV ad system, known as "AdConneqt," will enable service providers, programmers, and advertisers to add interactive elements to standard 30-second TV commercials. Specifically, the interactive upgrades will allow viewers to respond to the 30-second spots with a few clicks of their remote controls, offering advertisers "measurable engagement data," greater accountability, and better sales leads.
Ensequence developed the new platform after crafting a similar, albeit more elementary, ITV ad system for Canoe Ventures LLC , the MSO-backed advanced advertising consortium that dramatically scaled back its efforts and exited the ITV business in early 2012. That earlier system focused on request-for-information (RFI) features. "We did the Canoe platform," Low says. "That was a big undertaking."
Ensequence executives say they added new software components to the platform developed for Canoe so that it can run on other distribution platforms, not just cable systems. They also added audio content recognition (ACR) technology, which can detect the targeted ads automatically and then layer on the interactive elements on the fly.
As part of its launch plans for AdConneqt, Ensequence has been beefing up its executive team. Most notably, the company added David Kline, former president and COO of Cablevision Media Sales, as its new COO last month.
— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading