FearNet Fires Up Dynamic VOD Ads On Comcast


Horror network FearNet is now selling dynamically inserted ads for its free video-on-demand content on Comcast systems -- and is currently testing the capability with Time Warner Cable -- in partnership with Canoe Ventures.

Advertisers will be able to reach more than 20 million FearNet free VOD U.S. households, comprising the Canoe VOD dynamic ad-insertion footprint across Comcast and TWC. FearNet launched dynamic ad insertion on VOD with Comcast’s Xfinity On Demand last month and is conducting rollout tests with Time Warner Cable.

FearNet would not disclose how many VOD ad impressions served it has served to date, “for it’s just too early in the process,” a spokeswoman said.

Since launching its VOD service, FearNet has delivered more than 650 million on-demand views. FearNet, based in Santa Monica, Calif., is a joint venture of Comcast, Sony Pictures Television and Lionsgate Entertainment.

Sony Pictures Television, which handles FearNet’s ad sales, began selling commercial DAI spots for 10 advertisers last month on Xfinity On Demand. Advertisers in the initial DAI launch include Volvo, Focus Features (for the film ParaNorman), Anchor Bay Entertainment (for The Walking Dead Season 2 DVD), Starz Digital Media (Breathless) and Magnolia Pictures (VHS).

“One of the great things about dynamic ad insertion is that it gives us the ability to insert ads in a way that is similar to the process we use for linear TV,” Paul Brennan, Sony Pictures Television’s senior vice president of advertising sales, said in a statement. “We can be nimble when inserting advertising on VOD programming, and rapidly secure reporting metrics on the backend.”

In the upcoming months, FearNet plans to roll out the DAI capability with all VOD affiliates. FearNet’s on-demand content is available to 27 million homes, while its linear TV network is now in 7 million U.S. households and is expected to reach more than 10 million by the end of the year.

In October -- not surprisingly, FearNet’s most popular month -- the network will add special Halloween programming to the schedule, as well as bringing back classic horror series Tales From The Crypt starting Friday, Oct. 5, on linear and VOD.

“FearNet consistently ranks as one of the top three free VOD movie services in the industry,” FearNet chief revenue officer Ron Garfield said in a statement. “As an industry leader, it was imperative that we be part of the pioneering efforts creating a brand-new revenue stream, and launching a service on-demand that resonates with advertisers.”

The FearNet DAI VOD launch represents one of the first commercial wins for the restructured Canoe, the advanced advertising joint venture owned by the six largest U.S. cable operators. This spring, Canoe shut down its interactive TV ad efforts, laying off 120 of its 150 employees and closing the main New York office, to refocus exclusively on VOD advertising.

The pared-back Canoe, now based in Denver, is led by CEO Joel Hassell, formerly the venture’s chief technology officer.

“As consumer behavior continues to shift towards on demand experiences, Canoe and many in the industry realize the significant opportunity for dynamic ad insertion on VOD,” Hassell said in a statement. “We are pleased with the progress we have made on enhancing how on demand content is monetized to support programmers, and we’re excited to be working with FearNet on the execution of this gainful initiative across distributors.”