Video services

Woidke Heads to OpenTV

Paul Woidke is officially on the move, leaving his post at Comcast Spotlight, the ad arm of the nation's largest cable operator, to become the senior vice president and general manager of advanced advertising at OpenTV Corp. (Nasdaq: OPTV) (See Woidke Joins OpenTV.)

We'll learn the "why" soon enough, but to say that Woidke is familiar with OpenTV's advanced ad platform would be an understatement. Comcast used OpenTV's "SpotOn" platform to help power the MSO's recently wrapped up addressable ad trial in Huntsville, Ala. -- the precursor to a bigger test Comcast is sizing up in Baltimore with Invidi Technologies Corp. , an OpenTV competitor. (See Comcast Advances With Targeted Ads and Comcast Bulks for Baltimore Ad Trial .)

Woidke, who most recently served as the SVP of technology at Comcast Spotlight and an individual who has always been more than willing to help us poor souls in the press better understand an advertising server from a restaurant server, will join OpenTV officially in mid-May, where he'll be tasked with "evolving" the company's advanced ad business in the U.S. and abroad.

Although it's unknown yet if OpenTV has a role in "Project Canoe," the cross-MSO advanced ad project, Woidke's presence at the company and his new role there should open more than a few domestic doors for OpenTV, whose cable software and application businesses have enjoyed far more success outside the U.S. (See Who's Rowing 'Project Canoe'? and Verklin to Helm Cable Ad Initiative?) Simplified further, let's just say that the move gives OpenTV's U.S. cable prospects a healthy shot in the arm.

And that comes at a good time. You might recall that OpenTV had a foot in the door at Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) on a middleware project for the MSO's few Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT)-based cable systems. That project has since been mothballed. (See OpenTV, TWC Freeze Middleware Deal.)

But OpenTV's opportunities on U.S. cable soil are now linked to advanced advertising, which happens to be on one of two key growth engines some of the nation's largest MSOs have identified for 2008. The other, of course, is business services.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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