BlackArrow Keeps Ad-Repetition In Check

BlackArrow has added a component to its advanced ad system that will enable its pay-TV and programming partners to set limits on the number of times an ad is seen by a unique household or device regardless of whether those ads are being delivered inside a live video feed or in an on-demand stream.

That new feature, called “audience-based frequency capping,” will be offered for dynamic ad insertion systems (DAI) and have multiscreen in mind, as it’s been built to support new IP-connected set-tops and devices as well as older QAM-based boxes, BlackArrow said.  

BlackArrow said it’s introducing the ad capping feature as more and more video is delivered to a broadening range of screen types, making it more challenging for advertisers to control the number of times a viewers is exposed to a specific ad. Without those controls, the ad runs the risk of overexposure and a reduction in the overall effectiveness of its message.  

And repeating an ad over and over is, of course, annoying to the viewer as well. BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield recently noted in a blog post (registration required) that the relatively heavy (and mostly un-skippable) ad loads within authenticated video from multichannel programing video distributors (MPVDs) is often made worse by ad repetition.

While Internet-based video has historically used cookie-based systems to keep advertising frequency in check, BlackArrow’s new system can now apply such controls not just for video delivered to Web browsers, but video that is shipped to mobile apps and set-top boxes, explained Chris Hock, BlackArrow’s senior vice president of marketing and business development.  BlackArrow said it has developed what amounts to a “server-side cookie” to manage ad viewing frequency policies.

Hock noted that the new feature works in conjunction with BlackArrow Audience, a platform that captures and manages data down to the device level.

He said there’s no rule-of-thumb on how programmers and advertisers might want to cap how many times a particular ad is seen by a given household or unique device, but noted that the feature does give them the flexibility to set those frequency limits by the day, a week, a month, or even throughout the entire life of an ad campaign.

BlackArrow isn’t outlining where the new ad-capping feature is being rolled out, but “at least one customer is testing the solution right now,” Hock said.

BlackArrow’s announced MVPD customers including Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Rogers Communications. With the recent addition of Bright House, which is deploying VOD dynamic ad insertion in Indianapolis, BlackArrow’s deployment base covers almost 32 million homes.