According to Bruce Dilger, Canoe’s vice president/Advanced Advertising Architecture, the joint venture (that includes Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision, Cox, Charter and Bright House) is launching its dynamic video on demand (VOD) ad platform "potentially later this year."
Speaking at an advertising session at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo this week, Dilger added, "Technically, it’s ready to launch, certainly with two or three of our MSO owners in 2012.”
Although some Tier 1 MSOs have been doing dynamic ad insertion in VOD in their local avails, Canoe’s technology will permit dynamic VOD ads for national spots. And Canoe’s roadmap includes interactivity layered on the dynamic VOD advertising.
It’s taken cable quite a while to move forward with advanced advertising, but why is dynamic ad insertion in VOD an important step? Dilger said advertisers want their advertising in the proper context with ideal timing, but the current system for VOD advertising is static and inflexible.
"Ads are baked in," he explained. "The ads you see in on demand have been post-produced into the content and live there for a long time. They (advertisers) don’t want their ads to become stale; ads often have a window of opportunity."
While progress is being made with dynamic VOD ads and with interactive ads, fellow panelist John Reister, vice president/chief IPTV architect at BigBand Networks, outlined a way for advertisers to better target their prospects. He said there’s been a tendency to think of advanced TV advertising as simply taking the Google model for Internet advertising and copying that for TV.
"TV advertising has a different purpose than Internet advertising," he said. "TV advertising is about advertisers who are looking for their customers, not about knowing their customers already." He said television offers the richest medium for advertisers to create an emotional connection with their prospects.
Reister authored a paper "Driving Personalized Advertising to Multi-Screen: Linear Advertising Migration and Virtual Zoning," in which he proposed "virtual ad zones" to replace the traditional geographic-based zip-code zones that are carved around headend boundaries. While zip-code zones often include a diverse cross-section of consumers, virtual zones can be customized to reach specific demographics. Virtual ad zones could be created for non-contiguous geographic areas composed of people with shared characteristics, and they would not be constrained by the topologies of networks.
Reister said linear advertising is where the big bucks are, at least in today’s world. Some $65 billion is spent on linear ads, compared to $1 billion for VOD.
In addition to proposing virtual ad zones, Reister’s paper explores targeting ads for multiple screens. He said there are two alternatives for providing live (or near-live) content to IP-based devices. One uses adaptive bit-rate streaming (ABR), which is unicasted from distributed servers/Content Distribution Networks (CDN) to IP-based video devices. The other option uses IP multicast, where multiple streams of the same source content is delivered to multiple end points at the same time.
While each option has its benefits and drawbacks, Reister’s paper concluded: "MSOs have an advantage over their OTT competitors in their ability to deliver more eyeballs and personalized viewing experiences. By definition, this increases the appeal of MSO’s services to advertisers and content providers alike. Both the opportunity and the technology exist to convert TV as a lousy vehicle for advertising to one that delivers the level of market segmentation critical to attracting ad dollars."