Cable ad sales execs got a dose of reality Mon when GM’s Betsy Lazar said that media buyers like her are looking for MSOs to develop their VOD ad business or risk losing dollars to the Internet. Addressing CAB’s annual ad sales mgmt conf in Atlanta, Lazar praised the Internet, saying that it is the only medium where she can "truly calculate an ROI on every transaction." Before you dismiss Lazar’s comments as the ravings of a cable skeptic, she has been road-testing VOD with GM on Demand, a virtual showroom now on Comcast, Cox and, starting next week, Time Warner Cable. GM also is part of Driver TV, a VOD channel that the same 3 MSOs say attracts 1.3mln views per month and an average 3 minutes per user. "Just as today’s Web can provide enormous reach, we envision the same capabilities as VOD matures and this becomes the launching point for all navigation," Lazar said. "The opportunities for the cable industry to create destinations for consumers and the marketers who court them are almost without boundaries, and they’re within your reach. But you’ll need to get organized and you’ll need to move quickly." To that end, she called on MSOs and programmers to work together "to unlock the potential of your technology" and make advertising more interactive. She also urged the 2 to agree on common standards for VOD ad metrics. CAB pres/CEO Sean Cunningham said member reaction to Lazar’s message was positive. He said CAB’s cross-MSO working group would deliver standardized data by the end of the year. "This was a major advertiser letting us know we’re on the right path though we need to work all the harder," he said. -Shirley Brady

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