Cablevision Eyes Q4 For Addressable Ads Across Footprint

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Cablevision Systems is planning to let advertisers deliver different local ads -- based on individual household information, such as income -- to all of its 2.9 million digital subscribers in the New York metropolitan area starting in the fourth quarter of 2010.

With the expanded the capability, the MSO continues to push ahead of the rest of the industry on advanced TV advertising. Cablevision is a member of Canoe Ventures, a joint initiative with five of the other largest U.S. cable operators, which cancelled its first attempt to deliver zone-addressable ads nationally last year.

Last year, Cablevision commercially launched the cable industry's largest addressable TV advertising service with 500,000 subscribers in Brooklyn and The Bronx. The operator is working with targeted-advertising startup Visible World to deliver the ads.

Cablevision hasn't identified which advertisers have used the targeting capabilities. The system lets local advertisers deliver up to five different spots, segmented based on a variety of demographic criteria. For example, a wireless carrier could show one version of a spot tailored to Hispanic households, while displaying a different one to subscribers with teenagers.

"Significantly, based on the real-world results and enhanced consumer engagement achieved in our initial campaigns, the national blue chip advertisers we've worked with through GroupM, SMG, Universal McCann and other participating agencies have already placed campaign renewal orders," David Kline, Rainbow Advertising Sales Corp. president and chief operating officer, said in a statement. RASCO is the advertising sales unit for Cablevision and its Rainbow Media unit.

In addition to the addressable ads, Cablevision sells "Optimum Select" interactive advertising spots, which let advertisers run a request for information (RFI) in local 30-second ad spots. Among the first advertisers to buy into that service were Unilever, Gillette and Benjamin Moore.

Meanwhile, Canoe has launched its first RFI ads that have run across Comcast and Time Warner Cable.

To Visible World chairman Bill Katz, addressable TV ads are highly valuable to advertisers because they deliver marketing messages more accurately to the desired target audience. Asked about the promise of adding interactive RFI capabilities to current 30-second spots, he asked rhetorically, "Have you ever clicked on a banner ad on the Web?"

Comcast's pending deal to gain control of NBC Universal will provide a "catalyst" for addressable advertising to achieve broad scale, he said. "The ‘who goes first' things will be near term," said Katz, formerly president and CEO of ad agency BBDO.

New York-based Visible World's investors include Adams Street Partners, AllianceBernstein, Comcast Interactive Capital, Dawntreader Ventures, Leucadia National, Sofius Capital, Time Warner Inc., Viacom, Waterview Advisors and WPP.

Last month, Visible World announced a partnership with Cadreon, a division of Interpublic Group's Mediabrands, to launch Cadreon TV, which is aiming to deliver large-scale targeted advertising capabilities for advertisers across multiple cable operators.

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