AT&T Eyes SeaChange for TV Everywhere Ad Trial

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is kicking the tires on a new software platform from SeaChange International Inc. (Nasdaq: SEAC) designed to insert ads dynamically into on-demand and live video shipped to set-tops as well as to tablets, PCs and smartphones, Light Reading Cable has learned.

An AT&T official confirmed that the telco is in the "evaluation phase" with SeaChange's recently launched Infusion platform, which aims to preserve the advertising business model as service providers extend video services to more types of screens. (See SeaChange Scales up For Advanced Ads.)

It's not known when AT&T might pull the trigger on trialing or deploying Infusion, but the telco is already scaling up its use of SeaChange's Spot ad-insertion scheduler, which is splicing spots into U-verse TV's linear channels. Infusion essentially combines Spot with AdPulse, its video-on-demand ad system. On the hardware side, AT&T is already using BigBand Networks Inc.'s Media Services Platform (now part of Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS)) to insert ads into live TV streams. (See AT&T Deal Boosts BigBand.)

If SeaChange gets a revenue-generating deployment out of this, it would gain a high-profile customer for its new TV Everywhere-focused ad system. At last week's 2012 International CES, SeaChange announced a partnership with video processing vendor Envivio Inc. (NASDAQ: ENVI) aimed at delivering demographically targeted ads to iPads. (See SeaChange Enables Apple Device Ad Insertion.)

SeaChange isn't confirming details of its relationship with AT&T.

"While we can't confirm any of the names of our top-tier customers, we are steadily growing our customer base and have deployed our multiscreen, advertising and content solutions with more than 30 telco customers at this point -- some Tier 1 operators, and other mid- and smaller-tier operators as well," a spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

msilbey 12/5/2012 | 5:45:31 PM
re: AT&T Eyes SeaChange for TV Everywhere Ad Trial

It's supposed to be a big year for Canoe in the VOD ad insertion department, but given Canoe's many stops and starts, it's hard not to be cautiously skeptical. Perhaps this tinkering by AT&T will frighten the cablecos into really moving off the dime this time. 

AESerm 12/5/2012 | 5:45:30 PM
re: AT&T Eyes SeaChange for TV Everywhere Ad Trial

AT&T's AdWorks is one of the few shops out there that covers all screens--with of course smart phones being the most numerous. If it pans out, this could be a legit multi-screen trial.

craigleddy 12/5/2012 | 5:45:30 PM
re: AT&T Eyes SeaChange for TV Everywhere Ad Trial

I recently was talking with some ad agency folks who were big on the VOD ad insertion concept in general. They had liked the Canoe ITV ad play but were skeptical that it will gain the kind of reach that many advertisers seek. The multi-platform play also was appealing to them, especially if you can re-purpose creative materials cost-effectively across platforms, but there are many issues to figure out about pricing and metrics.

It's great to get these ad technologies out there but the advertising community can debate over their value ad nauseum.


FoWutItsWorth 12/5/2012 | 5:45:28 PM
re: AT&T Eyes SeaChange for TV Everywhere Ad Trial It's nice that AT&T is supporting its advertising and PR community as they are.

With their first purchase after the T-Mobile fallout, we can see that they are really a marketing company and not a telecommunications company due to lack of serious other acquisitions.
Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:45:20 PM
re: AT&T Eyes SeaChange for TV Everywhere Ad Trial

True, cable tends to move faster when it's being jabbed with a pointy stick. AT&T isn't offering much help when it comes to when it might shift from evaluation of this sort of thing to field trials and perhaps deployments, but I'm sure this sort of thing would at least grab the attention of cable and the Canoe J.V.  It would seem to me that, for cable, getting advanced advertising to work on the QAM-locked set-top world remains a huge challenge, and that once that's cracked, it should be easier to replicate in the multi-screeen IP world. If that's the case, AT&T should have a built-in advantage here since it's already using IP to deliver video to the set-top box. 

Also, one clarification: I was told Tuesday that AT&T , not its AdWorks unit, is the one evaluating Infusion.  It's been fixed in the story, but I thought it should be mentioned here as well. JB





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