Last week during the CTAM Summit in Boston, the Comcast Media Center unveiled its Ad Distribution Network (ADN), which will help cable operators and programmers keep track of and update promotional spots. "It’s (ADN) a way for networks to get their cross-channel spots, as well as their taggable spots, out to systems, as opposed to dubbing and shipping out a tape," said Leslie Russell, vice president of sales and marketing for CMC. "A network sends us its reel with all of the spots on it, and then we put them on this portal. Then the MSOs will be able to go in and pull down the network spots." CMC has designed a Web portal where it will create specific Web sites for each cable operator that is using the ADN. All that’s required from the MSO to access the site is a high-speed Internet connection. Promo spots more dynamic Affiliates can access, preview and download content in a more dynamic environment rather than shipping reels quarterly or monthly. "What this will allow them (affiliates) to do is create a promotion in a relatively short period of time if a program is in response to current events," Russell said. "They don’t have to sit there and figure out how they’re going to get a promotion made and how they’re going to ship and dub all of these one-off tapes to the different systems. This allows networks to become more dynamic in their promotions." ADN allows users to download either low or high-resolution spots from a Web site. The low-res spots can be downloaded onto a laptop or other portable device, so that sales personnel can present them to prospective clients. If the client decides to use the spot, a high-res version can be downloaded right into the client’s editing system. The ADN solution also comes with a reporting package that enables cable operators and programmers see what spots are being downloaded, whether low-res or high-res spots are being downloaded, and what spots are being used at the systems level. "If I’m an ad sales manager at Comcast corporate, I can go into the reporting package and see exactly what is going on in each market," Russell said. "Same thing for the cable networks, although obviously they can only do it for their network spots. They can go in and see what Comcast is doing with the spots that were posted, what spots have been downloaded, who is downloading them, and how long they’ve viewed them. "It’s pretty intuitive for an affiliate team to be able to go in on the network side and see what is going on with the spots and communicate back what campaigns people seem to be interested in, or if they’re actually being downloaded for air." Beta testing started July 5 for seven major networks and four cable operators; the latter includes Comcast as the only named company. Russell said CMC will gather feedback from the MSOs and programmers on the functionality of the high and low-resolution spots and the user interface before launching ADN in the fourth quarter. "I think the ad industry has been looking for an alternative solution to dubbing and shipping for a while," Russell said. "Now with technology, Web-based portals and publishing applications getting much more sophisticated and easier to use, this is an answer for the industry for downloading these spots, having access to them, and running the spots."

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