Atlas Enters the VOD-Advertising Fray

The video-on-demand advertising segment is getting a little help from Atlas, a digital-marketing organization that helps agencies buy Internet ads.

Seattle-based Atlas debuted its Atlas On Demand software platform last week, designed to make it easier for ad agencies and clients to make VOD advertising buys.

Drawing on its history in the Internet space, Atlas will provide a series of tools agencies can use to execute VOD buys.

They include creative development, media planning and buying; national and local ad-insertion delivery; targeting; decision rules and optimization; and campaign measurement and reporting.

“On-demand advertising represents a powerful and measurable channel that is both an immense opportunity for, and challenge to, existing TV models,” said Atlas president Ona Karasa.

Karasa said agencies need “a comprehensive set of workflow and reporting tools” to execute VOD buys.

Atlas is owned by aQuantive, a Seattle-based holding company that also owns Avenue A and Razorfish, two Internet-advertising agencies that billed $315 million last year.

Atlas was a toolset developed by those agencies years ago, but was spun off into a separate company, according to Scott Ferris, the one-time Comcast Corp. and MediaOne Group Inc. executive who joined Atlas in 2003 as senior vice president and general manager.

Atlas executives believe the company can provide agencies and their clients with the tool set to figure out VOD advertising, as Atlas did for the Internet, Ferris said. Lending a hand is former nCUBE Corp. executive Jay Schiller, Atlas’s vice president of business development.

The company formally introduced its VOD software tool kit last week, but has been briefing cable MSOs, cable programmers, agencies and clients on the product. The Atlas tool is Web-based and integrates media planning and buying, creative management, trafficking and data analysis.

Ferris said Atlas wants to serve as a middleman, helping agencies execute ad buys on VOD and navigate the myriad of MSO-related issues. That starts with navigating the various server vendors and set-top platforms; delivering ads to the appropriate headends for insertion; working with MSOs and programmers on where ad placement will take place; and gathering usage data so advertisers can gauge a campaign’s effectiveness.

“Using the existing Atlas media console, Atlas On Demand uses the same software tools that advertisers and their clients already trust and use,” Ferris said.

The benefit for MSOs: The software serves as a bridge between their world and Madison Avenue to make advertising purchases more efficient, he said.

Atlas’s current Internet client list includes Doner Advertising, Mediaedge: cia, Euro RSCG, Hill Holiday, Camelot, Avenue A/Razorfish, ID Media, Initiative Media and OMD.