Video services

Bright House Launches VOD Ad Insertion

Plunging into a potentially lucrative market for cable operators, Bright House Networks has become the latest major North American MSO to start inserting ads dynamically into video-on-demand (VoD) programming.

Bright House Networks , the sixth biggest US MSO with more than 2 million video subscribers, has started rolling out dynamic ad insertion (DAI) on VoD in its Indianapolis market. Although Bright House hasn't said where it might go next, it is expected to expand the DAI deployment nationally. Besides Indianapolis, the MSO's other big markets include Orlando and Tampa, Fla., Birmingham, Ala., and Detroit.

Like three of its large counterparts, Bright House is relying on [complink 10912|BlackArrow Inc.}'s ad insertion solution to manage the VOD DAI deployment. BlackArrow, which has carved out a nice niche for itself in this category, offers a centralized, real-time ad solution designed to unify campaign management, advertising reports, and ad executive across all TV platforms.

BlackArrow is also working with the other three major MSOs -- Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), and Rogers Communications Inc. (Toronto: RCI). Comcast, TW Cable, and Bright House are also all members of Canoe Ventures LLC , the four-MSO consortium driving VOD advertising in the US. The other large MSO participating in Canoe is Cox Communications Inc. , which has not yet rolled out DAI but is expected to do so later this year.

"We started out with VOD as low-hanging fruit for the large operators," Chris Hock, SVP of marketing and partnerships for BlackArrow, told Light Reading. "This is a sign that the market is moving away from early adopters." With the addition of Bright House, BlackArrow will extend its VOD ad deployment base to nearly 32 million cable homes.

The move by Bright House comes as the VOD ad business finally appears to be taking off after years of stumbling. In May, for example, the participating cable operators and 40 programming networks teamed up to conduct an average of 230 VOD DAI campaigns per week, according to the latest statistics from Canoe. Further, Canoe notes, more than 3 billion ads have been inserted in free cable VOD programming through May, already more than the 2 billion ads inserted through all of 2013.

For more of Light Reading's coverage of the emerging VOD ad business, visit our video services content channel.

With a fourth major North American MSO now under its belt, BlackArrow is seeking to extend its VOD ad reach across the Atlantic to Western Europe. Hock said the firm is also eyeing other pay-TV providers, such as telco video operators.

In addition, BlackArrow is looking to sign up more cable operators and other pay-TV providers for its ad solution for live, linear TV programming delivered over IP. So far, one major MSO, TW Cable, has started making use of that product, known as BlackArrow Linear. (See BlackArrow Targets Live TV Ads.)

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

thebulk 8/4/2014 | 3:26:30 AM
Re: Show me the money Yes, we ignor most of it, but I think much of it is just passive, as long as its there in front of someone its having some impact. 
smkinoshita 7/31/2014 | 11:30:12 PM
Re: Show me the money Ahh -- but if the user is going to ignore the ads, then the person paying for the advertising is just wasting the money.  It used to be the saying that "I know half my advertising is wasted, but I don't know which half" -- since we're advertising more than ever, I think the wasted number is much higher since the audience is being trained to ignore the ads.

It depends on what's being advertised of course, but in my experience I see a lot of marketers just using the "Alcohol and guessing" approach, and it doesn't really pay off.  I've done work crunching the numbers for a few businesses.  Unless the advertising techniques advance all the new tech available to it won't help.
thebulk 7/31/2014 | 2:56:12 PM
Re: Show me the money That might be the best time for the user, but most likely not the best time for the person paying for the advertising. 
smkinoshita 7/31/2014 | 1:30:06 PM
Re: Show me the money Those ads are terrible because they're stuck in the same tired "interruptive" method that advertising's been using for ages.  All it does is train people to ignore it, and if they get clicked it's by accident.  

Timing and context is everything.  The best time to insert an ad is when the person hits PAUSE.  At that point, the viewer is saying "I need to stop and do something" and in which case they're already interrupting their own viewing.  Then when they come back, the ad is the first thing they see and since they weren't watching at the time it's not like the ad did the interrupting.
thebulk 7/30/2014 | 3:15:38 PM
Re: Show me the money Personally I think ad insertion would be great if it worked the say YouTube does the overlay ads. That would probably be the best model for cable to go with. 
smkinoshita 7/30/2014 | 2:37:23 PM
Re: Show me the money I don't see much change happening personally; it's the same thing that always happen.  New advertising technology used the with the same old, tired, uninteresting and poorly targeted interruptive ads.

thebulk 7/29/2014 | 1:39:58 PM
Show me the money No doubt this is revenue that cable companies want, and I am sure they will find even more ways to insert ads, some we may not even relize we are being shown. For me the key to VOD ad insertion has aways been to make it seemless, I think the MSOs are trying to make that the case. 
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