America might, as the commercials proclaim and as a Boston cab driver recently and somewhat inappropriately pointed out, run on Dunkin, but the cable industry – and to be fair, all media – runs on advertising. That’s why an announcement by OpenTV this week that Comcast Spotlight traffic departments, advertising sales teams and inventory specialists are using its Eclipse Web Services product caused some ears to perk up. Increased efficiencies, especially in something as important as advertising – again, the skewed journalist perspective of the ad/news conundrum – is important news in most quarters.

The OpenTV tool "increases the efficiencies of the sales people when they’re building their campaigns and sending them over to the traffic system," said Sally Rynazewski, OpenTV Eclipse product manager.

Increased efficiency leads not to more ad sales but more efficient development and placement of the ads, and that, in turn, is a money saver. And face it; if you can’t make money, it’s almost as good to save it.

"It saves a lot of overhead because of the manual time it would take to accept these files," Rynazewski said. "The real timesaver comes in the inventory checking because inventory data is available now in real time to the salesperson or the inventory person so they can check that order really quickly. Not only do the orders come in automatically, but the inventory is being cleared automatically and checked. They have great time savings, and then it also reduces potential for any errors." Multiple MSOs While OpenTV has multiple MSO users (and wouldn’t that be multiple multiple system operators? Sounds like a rap song), including Time Warner Cable which has just started deploying it, Comcast Spotlight is the latest and greatest to join the ranks in markets serving 14 of the top markets.

"Prior to this product being developed … there was no seamless way to put an order into the system directly from the sales system," Rynazewski said. "Sales people would have to build a campaign in their sales system and then save a hard copy of the file … putting it on a server somewhere or e-mailing the file, and then the traffic person would have to actually adjust that file via a manual process. Now we have a process that talks directly between the sales system and the traffic system, which allows the traffic system to electronically ingest the order and the traffic or inventory person (to) electronically open up the system, check the order and punch it up as approved."

The system is just one of a "bunch of product" that OpenTV has in addition to its better known middleware, she said.

"We are the traffic and billing system; we schedule the commercials, and we verify the commercials and produce the invoices," Rynazewski said.

So cable can run on advertising and let the rest of America run on Dunkin, much to the chagrin of that annoyed Boston hack. – Jim Barthold

The Daily

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