IMAKE Software & Services is drawing a bead on targeted advertising capabilities with an updated version of its OpenVision software.

The new targeted advertising system, called Ad Exchange, is part of IMAKE’s OpenVision version 4.2 software, which is slated for commercial release in the first quarter of next year. Ad Exchange was designed for cable, content and IPTV operators for on demand ad insertion and IMAKE expects it to be used later in 2007 for switched digital video (SDV).

Armando Martinez, IMAKE’s senior vice president of engineering, said the core of Ad Exchange is the proposed DVS 629 specification from the SCTE‘s Working Group 5. According to an SCTE document, DVS 629, DPI – Targeted Advertising Systems Interface – Application Programming Interface (API), creates a standardized method for communication between an advertising selection system (ADS) and equipment that delivers that content to the consumer. The API can ease the integration effort required for a delivery system by providing multiple targeting systems with a consistent interface to use. It also allows ADSs to interface to multiple delivery systems without having to design to multiple interfaces. How it works "The core of it (OpenVision) is our Ad Exchange product, and its main goal is to do the ad targeting," Martinez said. "Dynamic targeting in real time starts at stream initiation, so when the subscriber elects to play back an asset, when the stream is set up, the session manager makes a call out to resolve the components of that selection, and any number of those components could be ad holes that result in an avail call to the ad matcher."

Martinez said the ad matcher then evaluates the rules that are running and validates all of the data that gets passed in the avails request and then picks the ad.

"The ad, or the promo, or trailer, or whatever it selects, is an asset itself that was also loaded on the video server, so the video server in effect gets a playlist that says, ‘play this and this and this,’" Martinez said. "It can be not only the main feature but also a set of ads or trailers. What DVS 629 is defining is the mechanism to make that request at the ad matcher and to pass the information to the ad matcher; then the resulting information that is sent to the server is covered under other specifications or modifications to other specifications."

Ad Exchange can also operate by inserting and appending ads onto content prior to distribution, but Martinez said it’s really geared more toward large, dynamic ad campaigns. In both cases, ads can be targeted based on content characteristics, rotation by dates and location. In session-based targeting, the ads can be targeted based on subscriber profile data and session context data such as time of day.

While more integration is needed for SDV with edge QAM vendors, IMAKE has integrated with solutions from Motorola, Cisco, Sun Microsystems, NDS, Verimatrix, Widevine, Harmonic, Optibase, OpenTV, DigiSoft.tv, Alticast, Amino, ADB, and Microsoft. – Mike Robuck

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