Fox Cable Checks Out Dynamic VOD Ads

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Fox Cable Networks is
testing BlackArrow’s dynamic
ad-insertion system with videoon-
demand content from FX,
National Geographic Channel
and Speed, in partnership with
an unidentified cable operator.

The six-month test, which got
underway in December 2009,
spans four of that MSO’s markets.

“The first goal is obviously to
make sure it actually works and
we’re happy to report it’s all systems
go,” said Sherry Brennan, Fox Cable
Networks senior vice president of
sales strategy and development.

In the trial, Fox Cable is running
different promos for upcoming
shows on FX, National Geographic
Channel and Speed, as well as
ads for 20th Century Fox movie releases.
Each of the three networks
provides about 10 hours of VOD
content per month to affiliates.

Currently, the programmer must
distribute any ads or promos with
VOD content hard-coded into the
file. “For us, it’s just huge to not have
to put up one ad across the whole
country for 30 days,” Brennan said.

BlackArrow has so far announced
trials with two MSO
customers: Bresnan Communications,
which is running a trial
in four Montana markets; and
Comcast, which initiated a test in
Jacksonville, Fla. (Comcast is also
an investor in BlackArrow.)

For Fox Cable, the next step is
“figuring out how much it matters,”
Brennan said, and determining
whether the additional
workload to change up the ads
is worth the effort. The programmer
also is eyeing the ability to
expand the dynamic VOD capabilities
to additional affiliates.

“The broader footprint you can
offer an advertiser, the more it will
matter to them,” Brennan said.