A "new day is coming" for cable advertising as the MSO and other cable ops begin testing HH-addressable applications for TV, Comcast’s vp of strategic alliances Andrew Ward said at CTAM Summit on Tues. The MSO has just one addressable test deployed in Huntsville, AL, with Open TV technology. He said that within the next "24-36 months you’ll see a rapid deployment" with Visible World’s technology, eventually putting the technology into all its digital HHs. Comcast pres Steve Burke "is involved" with the effort "in a significant way." Burke and other MSO execs are working to produce a cable-standard platform for addressability, Ward said. "We want cable to be the pioneers in this space," Ward added, noting eventually cable would be able to take addressability data to big national advertisers and programmers. Earlier Visible World vp Walt Horstman demonstrated technology allowing advertisers to target HH members based on data supplied by MSOs and advertisers. Cable’s data would be coded to ensure privacy and then married to data supplied by an advertiser; a third party would clean the data. Yet the path is not clear sailing. Deploying addressable advertising (for local ads initially) "will not be [like flipping] a light switch," Ward warned. Instead it will be "a crawl, walk, run evolution." — Although Time Warner Cable and Cablevision are taking slightly different paths to TV-based interactive advertising, on CTAM’s Advanced Advertising Opportunities panel executives from both MSOs emphasized the importance of original, frequently refreshed content and standards for data retrieval. "If you don’t keep that environment fresh and relevant, viewers are going to drop off quickly," said Joan Gillman, president of Time Warner Cable Sales. Both MSOs are expanding 30-second linear ads in the on-demand environment for viewers who opt to click through to a longer ad using their remote. TWC’s five category-based channels—including Journey TV and Automotive TV—have yielded more than 350 million impressions, Gillman said. TWC has ongoing set-top data trials in select markets and has recorded viewer interaction skyrocketing from 5% during the first week to 25% after a month in some cases, she said. Meanwhile, lack of standards across data retrieval and billing/back-office systems remains a hurdle. "It’s really important we figure out how to standardize this for MSOs and networks," noted Gillman, who said TWC is also trying to find a way to air interactive ads in-channel. "We envision a day when if you want to engage with an ad, you can pause the TV without a DVR," she said.

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