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On-Demand Ads: Expotv is Adelphia’s New Tack

Feb 27, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Adelphia has implemented a new strategy for the emerging advertising opportunity in long-form video-on-demand commercials. Rather than placing the long-form spots Adelphia sells within a section of the VOD menu inhabited solely by other commercials, the company has made a home for such spots inside ExpoTV, a VOD programming service.

ExpoTV, whose content consists of infomercials and product demonstrations, is available in more than 4 million homes through carriage agreements with Adelphia, Charter and other cable operators. ExpoTV’s programming has appeal similar to that of long-form VOD ads, which typically run in the neighborhood of 90 seconds to two minutes. Because both types of content operate as longer promotional vehicles for marketers, linking them together was logical, said Tom Feary, VP of marketing for Adelphia Media Services.

While the approach is new for Adelphia and VOD in general, it has the potential to boost viewership of the long-form ads because they are now housed with other programming content rather than in a separate ad bucket. Without programming to wrap around the spots, a long-form ad section could be a hit or miss from one week to the next.

As a programming service, ExpoTV refreshes content every month, creating a more consistent environment for long-form ads. The service features about 70 different product shows at any given time.

“What Expo is doing that is unique is aggregating content,” said Mitch Oscar, executive VP of Carat Digital, who is evaluating the platform for clients. Mixing long-form ads with ExpoTV’s programming creates a destination for the long-form spots. “People go to browse. … That helps it become a destination because people start to visit it,” he said.

Comcast Spotlight in Philadelphia has observed that halo effect. In Philadelphia, the operator runs a real estate classified section with pictures and videos of local homes. That content, which generates 80,000 views per month, is housed in the Comcast Spotlight portion of the menu that also includes long-form ads in the automotive, banking and other categories. Viewership of the long-form ads is higher in Philadelphia than in other markets, suggesting that the proximity to the popular real estate content is driving up viewership of the ads, said Tom Wise, director of sales for Comcast Spotlight in Philadelphia.

Adelphia has sold long-form spots in ExpoTV to local businesses but declined to name its ad partners. Mr. Feary said consumer response to ExpoTV has been strong. It’s a top-five destination among all free content for Adelphia, he said.

Adelphia began rolling out ExpoTV last year, and the service is now carried on nearly all of its systems.

While ExpoTV’s content consists of infomercials, Mr. Feary said, they don’t have the feel of old-school infomercials. “This isn’t your 1985 cable ad. It’s a really slick, professional, dynamic environment,” he said.

The new approach should make it easier for Adelphia to sell the spots because account executives can now peddle a programming service and not just a stand-alone ad, said Bill Hildebolt, president of ExpoTV.