Live from INTX: The Experiential Sports Spectacular

Okay, it’s not exactly “live,” since it happened earlier today (May 16), but here’s the video of the Imagine Park panel I moderated at INTX 2016 in Boston. Good stuff here on what’s new and next in interactive sports and personalized “channels” for following teams, athletes, plays and more.

The Experimental Sports Spectacular from The Internet & Television Expo on Vimeo.

The video acronym that needs to die

Dish Network Corp.’s breakthrough online video service addresses a marketplace sweet spot with such earnestness and resolve that it’s a shame to see it tarred with that sour and pejorative acronym of the new video era: OTT.

Short for “over the top,” this three-letter malcontent of a descriptor has always been a sketchy way to label genuinely innovative and interesting video business models that make use of the Internet. Dish’s millennials-targeted Sling TV is the latest, and the boldest, of the bunch. Continue reading The video acronym that needs to die

How to make a TV commercial vanish

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. Continue reading How to make a TV commercial vanish

Cable ad veteran Paul Woidke on the state of the biz

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. Continue reading Cable ad veteran Paul Woidke on the state of the biz

Cable rep firm NCC: advancing the agenda

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. Continue reading Cable rep firm NCC: advancing the agenda

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

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