VOD Ad Solution Hits Testing Stage

Feb 7, 2005  •  Post A Comment

Taking one of the first steps toward solving a big problem with video-on-demand ads, N2 Broadband has begun testing its VOD ad insertion solution, AdPoint, with Comcast.

The N2 system lets an operator or programmer insert and replace VOD ads every few days, a capability that dramatically advances what’s possible today. Now on-demand ads must be baked into programming content from cable networks nearly two months before the content is delivered to the cable operator. Then the ads remain attached to the program for the life of the show.

That means to date cable programmers and operators have been able to peddle VOD spots only as evergreen ads for branding purposes. But as technology like N2’s is more widely deployed, programmers and multiple system operators will be able to swap ads in and out every few days for better targeting.

Comcast Spotlight began testing AdPoint late last month, as a precursor to what will likely be a commercial deployment within a few months. Comcast is the first operator to test AdPoint, which was introduced at last year’s cable National Show. The ability to insert VOD ads on the fly can help cable companies sell local avails in VOD content or sell long-form VOD ads directly to clients, said Raj Amin, VP of content and advertising markets at N2.

Because ads can be changed easily, cable operators and programmers can make better use of the inventory, he said. If a marketer wants to run an ad for only one week, Comcast Spotlight or a programmer could sell the other weeks to a different client.

Advertisers can also change their ads. A movie studio could promote a new title in a VOD show with the first round of ads touting the release, and the next round incorporating reviews, Mr. Amin said. “Just like you do on the linear side: You change the copy. If everyone sees the same ad for two months, the efficacy of that ad drops,” he said.

Comcast is keen on the potential. “We are looking forward to a successful set of tests. We believe that VOD advertising is going to be an important component of supporting free on-demand programming for our subscribers,” said Paul Woidke, VP of technology for Comcast Spotlight.

In time, AdPoint will evolve to support household- and profile-based targeting and new ad formats such as “request for information” ads.