CAB puts focus on VOD advertising

“Advertising” and “on demand” seem to be tied at the semantic hip here, as momentum builds for new systems and approaches designed to weave advertising support into cable’s growing video-on-demand business.

Panel sessions organized by the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau included frequent references to on-demand advertising, even when they weren’t ostensibly devoted to the subject. A discussion on political advertising, for instance, segued into a conversation about the appeal of on-demand platforms as a way for candidates to get across detailed information about issues and platforms. A sales success story offered by an AE from Comcast’s Seattle operation revolved around a local VOD sports programming venture. And, more predictably, Wednesday’s Opening General Session about advanced advertising included an extensive dialogue around the subject, with network executives, including Oxygen Media’s Lisa Gersh, calling for more urgent action on deployment of “dynamic” VOD ad insertion – the technique that lets commercials ride along with unique VOD program streams.

A backdrop to the theme was Tuesday’s announcement of an advertising-supported program distribution deal between ABC/ESPN and Cox Communications Inc. The dialogue is welcome if it helps to foster more understanding of how on-demand advertising can (or will) work, said Matt Timothy of the cable spot ad rep firm National Cable Communications. Right now, he said, “there’s tremendous confusion.”

– Stewart Schley

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