Ad insertion platforms

TWC's LaJoie Leaves Parting Patent Gift

Mike LaJoie may have retired as CTO of Time Warner Cable, but his engineering work is still bearing fruit.

A patent application filed by LaJoie in September of 2008 has just been granted, giving Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) the intellectual property rights to ad insertion technology designed to decouple targeted advertising content from specific program-based ad buys. The main thrust of the technology is that it allows operators to deliver promotional content to viewers with particular demographic or psychographic traits regardless of what program they happen to be viewing. The patent covers ad insertion over broadcast switched architectures, network digital video recording systems and video-on-demand systems.

Targeted ad insertion has slowly gained traction in the cable industry in recent years. Despite a rocky start, the cable-based ad technology company Canoe Ventures LLC announced last fall that it has dynamically inserted more than 10 billion ads into VoD programming. The Canoe platform is also now available nationally in more than 130 media markets, including 48 of the top 50. (See Canoe Floats Its 10 Billionth Ad and Canoe VoD DAI Has More Than 130 DMAs.)

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Time Warner Cable hasn't been a slouch in the last few years either. In addition to being one of the founding members of Canoe, TWC has worked independently with ad tech company BlackArrow Inc. to insert ads dynamically into not only traditional VoD content, but also traditional linear programming and multiscreen content delivered over IP. (See TWC Taps BlackArrow for Multiscreen Ads.)

The ability to do dynamic and targeted advertising is becoming increasingly important as TV audiences fragment across different devices and viewing platforms. Traditional ratings systems like The Nielsen Co. 's are struggling to keep up with audience tracking, and numerous companies are looking at alternative ways to home in on particular users with the characteristics that advertisers are seeking. This involves not only defining who those users are, but also knowing how to reach them independent of what they decide to watch… and when and where they decide to watch it. (See also Verizon's AOL Buy Completes Its Content Story.)

— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading

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