Advanced Ads: 40% Of Comcast VOD Viewing Is In C3 Window

New York – With ad-supported TV representing the top video-on-demand category at Comcast, it makes sense that the operator is pursuing a variety of ways to help the MSO and its programming partners better monetize that content.

And the number eyeballs that are attracted to those shows is on the rise. Roughly 40% of VOD viewing on the Comcast platform is in the “C3” window, Rob Holmes, vice president of advanced advertising for video at Comcast, said Thursday afternoon during a keynote interview with Multichannel News editor-in-chief Mark Robichaux. As tracked by Nielsen, C3 refers to the first three days following the debut airing of a TV program.

The newest weapon being forged to take advantage of this trend and this viewing window is the On Demand Credit Rating, an initiative launched by Comcast that uses dynamic ad insertion to splice the ads in the most recent episode of a TV series into the prior episodes in the season that are banked in the VOD system. Boiled down, ODCR picks up part of that DAI viewing and applies it to the Nielsen C3 rating.

As previously reported, Comcast has conducted or is conducting small ODCR technical trials with NBCUniversal and ABC, and is on track to do the same with CBS.

“We’ve proven we can execute from a technical standpoint,” Holmes said.

He said Comcast has developed a scalable solution for dynamic ad insertion and believes new initiatives like ODCR can accelerate the overall DAI market for video-on-demand.

Generally, dynamic ad insertion “is a great opportunity,” Holmes said, noting that Comcast had about 1 billion DAI impressions last year and expects to be on pace this year to double it.

While ODCR presents a way for advertisers to buy full seasons of TV shows on the VOD platform, consumers don’t tend to gobble it all up at once. “Single-season VOD isn’t about bingeing,” he said. Instead, viewers tend to use VOD to keep pace with the current season.

According to data pulled together by Comcast in partnership with Rentrak, 75% of VOD views involved one household watching one episode of one series per week. “So it’s not really binge watching,” Holmes said.

Although ODCR is still wet behind the ears (it’s a topic of a VOD ad road show that’s underway to help educate the market), don’t get too comfortable with that mouthful of a moniker. “We’re looking for a better name,” Holmes joked.

And ODCR is just one of a “portfolio of solutions,” he said. Comcast will offer multiple options so programmers can figure out how best to map themselves to the operator’s DAI platform.

Another is NBCU+Powered by Comcast, an addressable/targeted VOD ad product that was introduced last month. The product, Holmes explained, offers advertisers a more detailed look at who they can reach through their campaigns.

While that product is in the early stages, Holmes anticipates that the more addressable ad inventory will become soon as Comcast and NBCU look attract more advertisers to it, continue their work with the ad agencies, and add it to the structure of the upfronts.

There’s an opportunity “to nurture that and make it grow,”  Holmes said of this emerging ad product category, but acknowledged that Comcast and NBCU will need buy-in from all parts of the  ecosystem in order for the effort to achieve scale.

Holmes' keynote discussion was part of the Advanced Advertising: Profiting From a Targeted Audience event Thursday (Feb. 27) at the Grand Hyatt in New York City, sponsored by NewBay Media's Multichannel News and Broadcasting & Cable.