Keep the advertising interconnects strong, be open to new models with competitors and help build a common platform.

Those were three requests that Mike Wall, Comcast Spotlight regional vice president, Maryland and Virginia region, delivered to members of the Virginia Cable Telecommunications Association, which is holding its 42nd annual Cable Show in Roanoke this week.

His ear-catching call to be open-minded about working with competitors such as nTelos, Cavalier and even Verizon is based on the platform-agnostic mindset of a typical advertiser.

"(The advertiser) is not buying a 30-second spot from Comcast or Cox or Metrocast or even Verizon," Wall said. "They are buying a 30-second spot on ESPN."

The goal – in some contrast with the practice today – should be making this purchase as easy as possible for advertisers.

"The more often ad buyers and agencies are approached to buy ‘spot cable’ through multiple sources, the more inclined they are to throw up their hands and simply buy broadcast," Wall said.

There might even be reason to join hands with the broadcasters. Wall gave the example of Comcast Spotlight being recently named the exclusive ad sales representative for My TV affiliate in the Salisbury MD designated market area (DMA). Interconnects and platforms Strengthening advertising interconnects and building new, common platforms were Wall’s two other calls to action.

Wall pointed to interest among Virginia Toyota dealers in long-form advertising on cable’s on-demand platform, but cautioned that separate interfaces for individual MSOs – and the absence of others – could frustrate such initiatives.

The benefits of increasingly targeted advertising notwithstanding, strong interconnects remain a necessary requirement for counteracting what Wall called the industry’s primary disadvantage, namely a sellable universe that does not match the total market delivery of the broadcast competition.

About the industry’s work in new media – such as Comcast’s planned addressable trial in Baltimore – Wall set three imperatives. Any such new media must be able to reach audiences, engage audiences and help advertisers close the sale.

– Jonathan Tombes

Read more news and analysis on Communications Technology‘s Web site at

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