Watch This Space
The first was the announcement that longtime -- and much-respected -- advertising man Alec Gerster (until recently head of Initiative Worldwide) has been announced as CMO of Navic, one of the leading facilitators of interactive TV and addressable advertising applications. When someone of this level of experience and credibility joins a company like Navic, which is among those leading the charge to advance the cause of new digital technologies in the broadcast space, it not only benefits the company concerned, but the sector as a whole.
Companies like Navic, Invidi, Ensequence, Visible World and others have been working diligently for years to push forward in this space (often with a sense of frustration, I shouldn't wonder) and while it takes a numbers of stars to align before everything slides into place, one of those stars is the credibility that comes when people who are known for their work in the mainstream of media and advertising join the cause.
With that in mind, it was doubly interesting to read of David Verklin's impending departure from Carat, and the reports circulating that he will soon be announced as the head of the cable industry's Project Canoe initiative - a collaborative effort to provide standardized metrics for VOD and related advertising, interactive TV applications and other benefits long-promised by digital TV and set-top-box data. The simple fact that someone of Verklin's stature is being touted as the man who will head this initiative is, I believe, indicative of a mood.
Add to this the investment seen in recent times in businesses like Navic and Invidi by WPP; the various efforts by agency businesses to realign themselves in ways they see as being better suited to the seismic shift towards all things digital; the fact that any major media owner you care to think of is investing heavily in its digital endeavors; and the increasingly successful efforts by the likes of TNS, Starcom and, more and more, Nielsen, to leverage set-top-box data for measurement and deal making -- all signs that something is really going on here.
Certainly the career decisions of people like Alec Gerster and David Verklin can be seen as indicators.
Anyone who has attended the Digital Exchange at Carat -- so ably initiated and hosted by Mitch Oscar -- has seen a succession of presentations and discussions relevant to this space that make it very clear we are on the cusp of something. Maybe now is the time to be casting around for investment opportunities in addressable advertising, like he small group of middleware companies that are already enabling interactivity on TV and addressable advertising in some markets in the U.S. and more overseas.
They're out there - and if I were them, I'd be feeling pretty good about my prospects just now.