New York -- Canoe's interactive television advertising business may have tipped over, but that doesn't mean the cable industry in general and Comcast in particular are left without a paddle in those marketing waters.
Comcast Cable senior vice president, general manager of video services Marcien Jenckes speaking here Wednesday afternoon during his keynote address at the Advanced Advertising event, "Setting the 2012 Agenda," sponsored by B&C and Multichannel News, made it clear that ITV ad opportunities abound.
He noted that just because Canoe last week announced its retreat from that part of the ad business in favor of concentrating its resources of video-on-demand opportunities "it's wrong to say we're not interested in ITV advertising, that we don't believe in it. That's patently not the case."
Jenckes pointed out that Comcast Spotlight, the MSO's ad sales arm, has been engaged in upward of 1,700 ITV campaigns that have delivered 4.5 billion impressions to date. He also noted that other MSOs -- he gave a shout-out to Cablevision for its "good work" with addressability -- have also been involved with ITV ads, delivering myriad messages, including tune-in spots and viewing reminders,prompts to purchase VOD movies from studios and requests for information about marketers' products and services.
He said that that "everybody in this room" (the Grand Ballroom at Manhattan's Roosevelt Hotel for those keeping score) from networks, advertisers/marketers and distributors stand to benefit from the more engaged, interactive and time-shifting ways that people consume TV and video these days, across various platforms and devices. Despite measurement hurdles that remain with Nielsen and from set-top boxes, Jenckes said it is Comcast's intention to continue to supplement that info with panel data and grow its ITV ad business, while meeting the needs of clients and consumers
Jenckes is also bullish on VOD advertising, with Comcast poised for significant growth there. The nation's largest distributor and foremost proponent of VOD generates some 400 million screen views monthly, with TV shows accounting for more than one-third of that total, according to Jenckes.
Whereas VOD ad opportunities have principally been limited to pre- and post-roll positions, Comcast, according to Jenckes, is on the verge of dynamically inserting ads mid-roll, within the commercial breaks of programming content, across its entire footprint. On stage during his conversation with Multichannel News editor in chief Mark Robichaux, Jenckes noted that Comcast's systems in western Pennsylvania and in the Denver DMA are currently the only ones yet to be equipped with mid-roll dynamic VOD ad insertion capabilities, but that would change shortly.
In an interview after his keynote, Jenckes said those markets should come on board by March and April. From there, Comcast -- it started rolling out the mid-roll VOD dynamic advertising service last year before it was interrupted by a software glitch that was subsequently patched -- expects that capability will be "totally available" by year-end, across VOD, websites and iPad apps.
Given consumers' VOD TV usage habits -- the bulk of which is tied to current shows that are screened within the C3 window -- this makes the platform "highly monetizable," according to Jenckes.
He said mid-roll VOD dynamic insertion represents opportunities not just for the MSO, but marketers and networks. "It will make VOD equivalent to the linear platform. Currently, the ads are either stitched mid-roll into the content, or there aren't any stitched ads because the timing isn't right for the spots," Jenckes told MCN."This is going to be a huge opportunity to increase the VOD inventory load."