CableLabs Advanced-Ad Interop Draws 24 Companies

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CableLabs last week hosted 24 vendors and programmers at an advanced-advertising interoperability event that included demos of systems using specs developed by the consortium and Canoe Ventures.

The interop was held at CableLabs' Louisville, Colo., headquarters in conjunction with Canoe, the advanced-advertising company formed by the six biggest U.S. cable operators, and the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers' DVS/Working Group 5. At the CableLabs addressable-advertising interoperability event in June, 14 companies participated.

"We are extremely pleased with the enthusiasm of the vendor community for implementing a common end-to-end architecture that will enable compelling new advertising products," Don Dulchinos, CableLabs senior vice president of advertising and interactive services, said in a statement. "The great turnout shows the increasing momentum behind the MSO and Canoe efforts to adopt standards that allow for the delivery of new ad forms to a national footprint."

Canoe chief technology officer Arthur Orduña commented, "This unprecedented collaboration among CableLabs, Canoe, SCTE and the vendor community moves us closer to our common vision. With standards, we can finally scale our products and offer national reach for marketers using our advanced ad products."

Companies that participated in last week's interop were: Alcatel-Lucent, Arris, Avail-TVN, BigBand Networks, BlackArrow, Cisco Systems, Concurrent Computer, Ensequence, FourthWall Media (formerly BIAP), Motorola, NBC Universal, NDS, Nielsen Claritas, OpenTV, RGB Networks, SeaChange International, Sigma Systems, Softel, Strategy and Technology, Tandberg Television, ThinkAnalytics, ThisTechnology, UniSoft and Visible World.

The companies showed end-to-end interoperability for various ad formats including interactivity (such as voting and polling and request for information applications), ad insertion in VOD content, ad insertion in linear content, telescoping, and graphic overlays on VOD content.

In addition, the participating companies demonstrated the ability to interoperate with one another using content formats and interfaces that meet the Advanced Advertising 1.0 specifications jointly developed and released earlier this year by CableLabs and Canoe.

Specifically, the interop event was meant to highlight the progress of interoperability based on SCTE-130 standards and CableLabs' Stewardship and Fulfillment Interface (SaFI) specs, according to Paul Woidke, OpenTV's senior vice president and general manager of advanced advertising. Woidke also is chairman of the SCTE's DVS/Working Group 5 committee, which is working on advanced advertising standards.

Executives from cable operators, programmers and other companies also attended the event, including those from BendBroadband, Cable Europe Labs, Cablevision Systems, Comcast and Comcast Spotlight, Cox Communications, Disney/ESPN, Harris Broadcast Communications, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, Starz Entertainment, Texscan, Time Warner Cable and Turner Broadcasting System.

Vendor products on display included ad campaign managers, ad decision services, content information systems, placement opportunity systems, subscriber information systems, Enhanced TV streamers, Enhanced Binary Interchange Format (EBIF) user agents and ad splicers.

CableLabs does not charge vendors to participate in its advanced-advertising interoperability events.