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

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