Comcast Tests Real-Time Ads In VOD

Comcast has launched a trial on its Jacksonville system allowing for real-time ad insertion within VOD offerings. So far, however, the cable operator is using the inventory only for its own promos.

Marketers have complained that advertising within VOD programming effectively locks them into using one piece of creative likely to grow stale. Ads can be inserted into a stream, but forced to remain there as long as a show is available for viewing.

The new opportunity allows an advertiser to rotate timely ads into the on-demand programming. With the Comcast test, the MSO is swapping in 15- and 30-second spots for content on its pre-school PBS Sprout Kids network and FearNet (horror genre) offerings.

Tech provider BlackArrow, funded in part by a Comcast venture-capital arm, is providing the backbone for the dynamic ad insertion, which gives Comcast and other cable operators a VOD campaign management tool. The Jacksonville deployment is the company's first.

Advertisers are not the only ones frustrated by "static" VOD ads. Networks are seeking opportunities to better monetize their VOD channels and allowing a retailer or auto dealer to refashion creative mid-flight could help.

"The ability to update VOD advertising will help us offer ... parity with traditional linear and Internet-based advertising systems," states Diana Kerekes, vice president of video content for Comcast.

BlackArrow CEO Dean Denhart stated: "We hope to expand the business model significantly for on-demand advertising."

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