BlackArrow CEO Dean Denhart Stepping Down

Advanced advertising company BlackArrow announced Tuesday that CEO Dean Denhart is stepping down after seven years in the role, and that company president Nick Troiano will be assuming Denhart's duties. 

Under Denhart (pictured), BlackArrow has secured dynamic ad insertion deals with operators such as Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Rogers Communications, Bright House Networks, giving it a reach of more than 32 million homes worldwide. BlackArrow also works with Canoe, the advanced ad J.V. backed by Comcast, Cox Communications, TWC, and Bright House, that recently announced that it has inserted more than 10 billion ads into VOD content since launching that capability about two years ago. 

“Denhart oversaw exceptional growth at BlackArrow and helped establish the company as the leading advertising technology provider to pay-TV operators," said Michael Pohl, chairman of the board at BlackArrow, in a statement. “The Board is appreciative of what he and the executive staff have achieved and the transition of leadership to Nick positions BlackArrow for continued success.”

“Dean has been a key part of BlackArrow’s success and he has positioned us well for the future,” added Troiano, who has served as BlackArrow’s president for the last five years. “The dynamics of the pay-TV advertising industry are changing and I’m excited to lead BlackArrow into our next chapter of growth.”

Update: In an interview, Troiano said Denhart and the BlackArrow board had discussed the timing of his transition out of the company so he could pursue other things. Denhart, Troiano added, will remain an advisor to BlackArrow and help wtih the transition. 

Earlier this year, industry sources said BlackArrow company was working with advisors to explore potential “strategic options” (subscription required), including a possible sale, for the advanced ad firm, which originally targeted set-tops boxes, but has been branching into advertising systems for IP-connected platforms. BlackArrow’s future position, particularly when it comes to IP-delivered video at Comcast, came under some question in March, when the nation’s largest cable operator acquired FreeWheel.

Although BlackArrow has historically focused on QAM-based set-tops, it has the ability to insert ads on IP-based platforms as consumers continue to gravitate viewing on devices like tablets. “We do both today for pretty much all of our customers,” Troiano said. But he said the bulk of the volume of dynamic ad insertion for VOD in cable footprints is still on the set-top box. “QAM-based based set-top box VOD far outstrips any kind of VOD viewing in the home [versus] other types of devices and platforms.” 

BlackArrow has been seeking other growth paths for its dynamic ad insertion management and campaign platform. In September, the company expanded into Europe and opened an office in London that will also serve as the home of a data center for the market.

“International expansion is a big opportunity for us,” Troiano said, noting that operators in Europe and other countries are “slightly behind” the U.S. when it comes to VOD monetization.  “We have some significant announcements coming very quickly about our growth there.”