Regardless of how the 2012 elections play out, cable is getting a healthy cut of the adspending action. (See Cover Story.) Joan Hogan Gillman, president of Time Warner Cable Media, sees political tracking well and is bullish on other opportunities for the industry — including, after years of waiting in the wings, video-on-demand ads. She spoke last week with Multichannel News technology editor Todd Spangler.
MCN: How is 2012 political ad spending tracking versus four years ago?
Joan Hogan Gillman: I think it’s tracking extremely well. It is tracking exactly where we hoped it would, and the key difference between ’12 and ’10 and ’08 is that we have done a much better job of informing political candidates early enough to benefit from more primary money. … We have more activity around local races than national, but the key difference is the role of the super PACs, which were very active in the primary months.
MCN: So is TWC up by double digits over 2008, as other operators have reported?
JHG: Our third-quarter results are coming out soon, and the leaders of our company will clearly talk about how important political is for our Q3 results.
MCN: Ohio must be doing well for Time Warner Cable.
JHG: We have three swing states: Ohio, North Carolina and Wisconsin. They’re all seeing good activity.
MCN: What’s the footprint for dynamic ad insertion for VOD across TWC?
JHG: Inside our footprint, everything is installed. All the equipment is in place. For the purposes of saying we can do dynamic VOD, I can do that on the sales channels I own and operate. The campaign manager is where the final work is being done. From our perspective, it is a godsend that we are stripping away the manual processes with automated systems.
When it comes to Canoe [Ventures, jointly owned by TWC and five other MSOs], the current footprint enabled for the national networks is a subset of our full footprint, but it is very, very close to having it everywhere.
MCN: After years of talking about VOD advertising, are we finally on the cusp of something big?
JHG: I think so. My own personal view is VOD has been a great asset for the cable industry. VOD advertising has been a long time in coming. It is absolutely in the interests of the programmers to take advantage of that. We were first in the industry to do Start Over, so we can prove that having advertising in time-shifted content is not going to be a deterrent — consumers value convenience over the ad load.