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Invidi, veritas: addressable ad provider is poised for impact

February 15th, 2016

With DirecTV’s launch of geo-targeted advertising on the cusp and minority investor Google on the sidelines, NYC-based software developer Invidi is preparing to usher in a long-awaited age of household-addressable advertising over multichannel video networks.

In a briefing last week with Executive Vice President Michael Kubin, we received a timely update on Invidi’s role in supporting some of the most visible deployments of addressable advertising to date. Read the rest of this entry »

DirecTV’s advanced advertising watchword: patience

February 15th, 2016

DirecTV’s targeted advertising program grew at a 10-12% clip in the latest quarter and should end the year with double-digit growth, but it’s not taking off just yet with large national advertisers.

That’s the word from CEO Michael White, who told analysts this week he likes where the initiative is going, but recognizes it’s going to take time before large packaged goods advertisers embrace the platform. Read the rest of this entry »

How to make a TV commercial vanish

February 15th, 2016

Here’s the trick question of the day: How do you make a 30-second mid-roll commercial break within a cable VOD stream vanish?

The answer: stop watching the on-demand video stream before the mid-roll break ever happens. When that happens, the video stream gets interrupted and the session gets torn down. So do the advertising breaks that were supposed to be planted within the forthcoming content.

It happens all the time in the online video space, where completion rates for requested videos vary wildly. But in the advanced cable advertising environment, there’s an extra complication that has to do with the business relationships between TV networks and local cable companies. Read the rest of this entry »

Cable ad veteran Paul Woidke on the state of the biz

February 15th, 2016

Had a chance to catch up with the dean of cable advertising technology, Paul Woidke, last week. Came away as always with some fresh ideas about where the business is going.

Woidke is cable advertising’s version of Leonard Zelig, the Woody Allen fictional character who managed to be just about everywhere. In the 1990s, Woidke was one of the instrumental figures in building Adlink, the Los-Angeles multichannel video advertising interconnect now owned by Time Warner Cable. There, he helped instigate early applications of digital video advertising distribution technology plus two ahead-of-their time applications for customizing advertising content (known as AdTag and AdCopy). Later, he (along with other Adlinkers including Charlie Thurston and Hank Oster) joined Comcast’s advertising sales group as SVP of technology, where he helped to shape the seminal industry standard for advanced ad delivery known as SCTE-130. Woidke is now SVP of strategy for Nagra, whose Eclipse line of software traffics close to 100 million spots a month for cable advertising partners.

Here’s Woidke on the state of the cable ad business today, and where it’s going tomorrow. Read the rest of this entry »

Cable rep firm NCC: advancing the agenda

February 15th, 2016

Not so ago, the cable-owned spot rep firm NCC Media was all about linear. With affiliation deals covering most of the cable markets in the U.S., NCC’s world rotated around the tried, true and tested 30-second commercial.

Brokering a share of the local commercial inventory controlled by its affiliates, NCC has made a living for years aligning national advertisers and brands with the sometimes-peculiar geographies and processes of the local cable ad business. Through NCC, an automaker with a line of convertible cars, for instance, could heavy up a spot cable ad campaign in sunshine markets where buyers are more likely to cruise with the top down. The advertiser would choose the markets, supply the creative and write the check, and NCC would go about the workmanlike tasks of getting the right spot to run in the right geographies, on the right cable systems and on the right networks.

Today, that essential process is still the bread-and-butter business of New York-based NCC. Last year the company delivered (drum roll here) more than 34 million 30-second spots across roughly 2,900 cable systems, according to President and CEO Greg Schaefer (pictured). That’s more than 2.8 million spots per month, or 94,000 per day, flowing through the advertiser-to-NCC-to-local cable ecosystem. Read the rest of this entry »

How to make TV ads really valuable? Block (some) people from seeing them

February 15th, 2016

Interesting point made by Blackarrow President Nick Troiano in a recent conversation about cable’s emerging advanced advertising marketplace. A big driver of value for advertisers, Troiano thinks, is the flipside of what theorists most often talk about, which is audience targeting.

Instead, Troiano suggests the real economic advantage comes from excluding people from seeing commercials.

You heard that right: One of the advantages of addressable television advertising is the ability to keep commercials away from certain viewing groups. In other words, it’s about excising the worry about wasted circulation that has haunted advertisers ever since the 19th century department store maven John Wanamaker uttered his famous bromide that “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” Read the rest of this entry »

Buzzkill from the social TV front lines

February 15th, 2016

The most notable thing about GetGlue’s agreement to be acquired isn’t who’s buying the social TV pioneer. It’s who isn’t.

The buyer, for the record, is Viggle Inc., a competitor in the social TV space that, like GetGlue, doles out rewards for people who use its social media application while watching television. The $110 million cash-plus-stock offer for GetGlue gets Viggle 35 employees, including Alex Iskold, GetGlue’s founder, and a registered user base that’s reported at around 3 million.

So them’s the numbers. What’s telling, though – and not in an altogether positive way for social TV – is that GetGlue’s exit ends up being something less grand than what enthusiasts have envisioned for the category. Lost Remote, a website for the social TV category, speculated in October GetGlue might attract interest from the likes of Twitter or Nielsen, for example. Instead, the buyer is a virtual-crosstown rival. Their merger – two smallish upstarts – does not signal an epochal moment for social-TV in the way that another sort of transaction could have. Read the rest of this entry »

With retrans fees rising, does a new ad model lurk?

February 15th, 2016

Comments attributed this morning to CBS Corp. boss Les Moonves underscore a conundrum of retransmission consent, the legal framework for channel-carriage deals between broadcasters and multichannel video distributors.

Retrans, if you hadn’t noticed, is big business. SNL Kagan estimates cable/telco/satellite providers will pay $5.5 billion by 2017 for the rights to retransmit TV station signals to pay-TV subscribers. Speaking today at an industry conference, Moonves said CBS expects to collect more than $1 billion from retransmission payments and reverse compensation fees (money paid to CBS by its broadcast affiliates) by 2017. Moonves, President and CEO of CBS, appeared today in NYC at the On Screen Media Summit presented by Broadcasting & Cable and Multichannel News. Read the rest of this entry »

For Viamedia, cross-channel inventory is key

February 15th, 2016

Cable TV ad rep firm Viamedia made its way into the business in an unorthodox way, by striking alliances with non-traditional video service providers like SureWest and Frontier Communications to sell local TV advertising inventory.

But the Lexington, Ky. company has discovered one key to growth is an entrenched staple of the business: cross-channel promotion for a video provider’s own products. Read the rest of this entry »

This Technology: alternative content is the splice of life

February 15th, 2016

If you thought cable advertising was starting to get hyper-targeted before, here’s a news nugget that stretches the boundaries of the medium ever further.

Denver-based This Technology, a provider of software that injects dynamic video advertisements into on-the-fly video streams, has figured out a way not only to associate targeted ad spots within IP video streams that show up on tablets and smartphones, but to get targeted ad spots placed within alternative programming that’s used as a replacement for what’s normally on the air.

Dizzy? That makes two of us. Read the rest of this entry »