Cable-Tec Expo: Avail-TVN Puts Stamp On Dynamic VOD Ads

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Avail-TVN is launching a service to automatically insert a mark indicating ad-break opportunities in video-on-demand content -- alongside hard-coded ads measured in the Nielsen C3 window -- a feature aimed at greasing the skids for VOD dynamic ad insertion.

The company, one of the top U.S. distributors of VOD content, said its Advanced Advertising Insertion Marking (AAIM) service will let programmers pitch one copy of their free on-demand programs with both hard-coded ads and metadata indicating opportunities for dynamic ad insertion.

Currently, programmers embed VOD assets with ads to get credit for those viewed in the Nielsen C3 window (within three days of broadcast). To take advantage of dynamic ad insertion on Day Four, programmers have had to distribute a second version with SCTE-130-compliant markers indicating ad-placement opportunities.

The Avail-TVN AAIM service eliminates the need for that extra step. The company will capture a live network feed, validate the Nielsen watermark, encode the program -- and then apply the Advanced Advertising Insertion Mark as SCTE-130 metadata for future advertising insertion once the C3 window expires. SCTE-130 is a series of specs defining how ad-management systems communicate with digital program insertion equipment.

"We have tied together the two systems, so a network customer can take advantage of both," Avail-TVN chief revenue officer Jim Riley said.

The company expects the first commercial deployment in the first quarter of 2012.

Among cable operators, Comcast has begun building out VOD dynamic ad insertion capabilities using SCTE-130 equipment across its footprint, with its initial deployment covering 17 markets. Canoe Ventures, the advanced-advertising company backed by the six largest MSOs, is assembling a national VOD DAI capability that also will employ SCTE-130.

Avail-TVN has been testing AAIM for nearly a year with all its major network partners as well as operators, with the goal of preparing the VOD content within six hours after broadcast.

"What we needed to do, with the VOD ecosystem overall, was make sure it sync'd up with the ad decision systems and campaign decision systems at the MSO and the programmer," Riley said. "For us it was about workflow... It's a real quick turnaround process."

Avail-TVN's AAIM service, in conjunction with inserting the ad-placement marks, captures, packages and distributes the Placement Opportunity Information Service (POIS) data that represent the business rules around the AAIM marks.

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