Comcast, Turner Strike Multiscreen VOD Ad Deal

Turner To Provide Access To Current And Past Seasons Of Original Shows (UPDATED)
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In a nod to binge- and catch-up TV viewing models that have shown to boost tune-ins of live TV, Comcast will offer current and past seasons of original programming from Turner Broadcasting’s stable of networks on-demand on set-tops and via authenticated mobile apps in the wake of a new dynamic advertising deal announced Tuesday.

The new offering, to be made available as inventory in time for the 2014/2015 upfront, will offer the “stacking” of current and past episodes of shows on TBS, TNT, Adult Swim, CNN, Cartoon Network and truTV. Specific shows covered the by deal include but aren’t limited to TNT’s Falling Skies and The Last Ship, TBS’s Deal With It and CeeLo Green’s The Good Life; Cartoon  Network’s Adventure Time and Regular Show; Adult Swim’s Robot Chicken and Mike Tyson Mysteries; CNN’s Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknownand Inside Man; and truTV’s Impractical Jokers and The Carbonaro Effect.

Under the deal, Comcast and Turner said they will offer advertisers the ability to insert ads dynamically into on-demand shows offered on set-tops boxes as well as TV Everywhere apps for PC browsers, smartphones and tablets.  Turner said the plan is to provide full current seasons of its most popular original series to Comcast Xfinity TV subscribers this summer, allowing them to catch-up or stay current.

The expanded deal between Comcast and Turner comes into play as the MSO continues to test Neilsen’s On Demand Commercial Ratings  (ODCR), a method of viewership measurement that allows advertisers to splice fresh ads into recently aired TV shows as well as prior episodes in past seasons. Comcast has conducted or is conducting small ODCR technical trials with NBCUniversal, ABC and CBS.

Cable has historically used Nielsen’s C3 ratings model, which measures VOD commercial viewing within three days of a show’s live airing, to give advertising credit to the most-recently offered episode in a TV series. Programmers, however, have not received C3 advertising credit for VOD views of any of the prior episodes of the series. The use of ODCR and dynamic ad insertion aims to bridge that gap and drive more VOD-related ad dollars.  

“This new agreement expands our existing relationship with Comcast and furthers our combined commitment to provide the customers we both serve with more popular programming from Turner’s portfolio of leading networks,” said David Levy, president of Turner Broadcasting System, in a statement. “We all know viewing habits continue to evolve. VOD is a great way to help grow our audience and introduce new viewers to our programming and it also serves as another opportunity for advertisers with their targeted brand messages.”

“Through dynamic ad insertion, we now have a new source to swiftly integrate advertising creative in a highly sought after environment,” added Donna Speciale, president of Turner Broadcasting Ad Sales.

“Comcast and Turner Broadcasting have a long-standing relationship built around bringing viewers all the content they want to watch, anywhere they want to watch it,” said Matt Strauss, SVP and GM, video services, Comcast Cable, in a statement. “Xfinity On Demand is a go-to source for customers who want to catch-up and stay current on their favorite TV shows and the addition of Turner’s original programming only enhances the platform.  With more than 400 million hours of total viewing each month, our platform also has demonstrated the ability to build new audiences, lift C-3 ratings, and provide a variety of new advertising opportunities such as dynamic ad insertion and On Demand Commercial Ratings.”

Update: The arrangement also opens up opportunities for Comcast’s DAI and advanced ad vendor partners, which include Black Arrow and the Canoe joint venture on the set-top side, and FreeWheel  (acquired by Comcast in March) and This Technology on the IP end of the video equation, among others.

“This Technology plays a key role in support of dynamic ad insertion on Comcast’s IP platforms,” said Denise MacDonell, VP of product managing and marketing at This Technology, in a statement. “We are part of a thriving ecosystem that includes other technology vendors like FreeWheel and key players like Canoe. Together, we help Comcast and its programmer partners drive the monetization of more content to more devices.”