Putting Ads On The Spot

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Leslie Russell is vice president of sales and marketing for the Comcast Media Center (CMC). She is responsible for all aspects of customer acquisition and retention for the products and services that the CMC provides to the media, telecommunications and advertising communities, including national sales, client services, marketing, public relations and business affairs.

Russell is a long-time cable veteran. She joined CMC in 1999. Before that, she served as director of national product marketing for DBS venture PRIMESTAR, which was later acquired by DirecTV. She was also a regional product manager for Comcast Cable and holding affiliate sales and affiliate relations posts at Viewers Choice, later known as In Demand.

Russell spoke with Local Ad Sales about CMC’s Ad Distribution Network, which has more than 1,100 users across the country at cable systems and regional and corporate MSO offices, allowing programming networks and advertisers to publish and refresh their spot commercials from one centralized content management location. 

Networks currently using the ADN platform include the A&E Television Networks, Lifetime Networks, the Comcast Entertainment Group of networks and Fox Cable Networks. National Cable Communications also recently signed up for the service. Cable operator affiliates can preview and download either high-resolution or lower resolution IP-video formats from operator-specific portals, allowing further customization of campaign creative at the corporate and market levels. An edited transcript follows:

Q: How does the ADN network work?

A: Essentially it takes the traditional dubbing and shipping of spots and puts them on a Web portal where a user [either an MSO, regional or local ad sales office] can see what they download and sell to their clients. It also gives AEs a more powerful presentation to sell spots because they can download a low-resolution ad for a presentation with ad clients. If the client likes the spot, the local system can download a high resolution version of the spot.

Q: Do you do the editing or it is done locally?

A: The local systems download the spots. They then edit them and insert them at the local level. ADN basically takes the trouble of dubbing and bicycling of tapes, which can be thousands of spots each month, out of the mix by making everything electronic.

Q: What’s the advantage of that?

A: It allows the content providers to be more dynamic. For example, they can post a spot quickly and react to the market faster. Cable systems download the spots so they are easier to sell rather than trying to tell them about the spots, they can actually show them to the client right away. The networks primarily use this service for cross-channel but the service is expanding to include other spots as well. In addition, our relationship with NCC will help to accelerate the advertising community’s interest in this fast and efficient method for delivering spot commercials to local markets.

Q: When did CMC launch AND?

A: We introduced ADN at the 2006 CTAM Summit and today we have 1,100 users across the country. Most of the large MSOs use ADN and some independent operators also use the service. Each large MSO has a user portal and the independents have a separate portal they can access.

Q: How is the service priced?

A: We don’t discuss rates, but the cost is based on the number of high-resolution downloads and networks pick up that cost.

Q: How has the service morphed since its launch almost two years ago?

A: We’re starting to move more robustly into serving the advertising marketplace to deliver long-form and short-form advertising spots. We see opportunities for the platform to be a place where anyone who wants to post spots can do so and reach a broad audience. For instance, our deal with NCC will allow them to deliver cost-effective content to MSOs around the country. Ad spots can be added or dropped quickly and that allows our users to react to the market much quicker than before.