BlackArrow Lets VOD Ad System Talk Directly To Other Campaign Managers

BlackArrow is introducing software that will let TV programmers use their existing advertising campaign management systems to place national ads in video-on-demand content with cable operators using the vendor's VOD ad system.

BlackArrow's Ad Router technology, along with a new Business Suite of tools, will let service providers offer programmers an expanded menu of options for controlling and managing their ad inventory. With the new products, national cable networks or local ad-sales organizations can use third-party ad systems (or the BlackArrow Campaign Suite) for fulfillment of ads across a service provider's multiple platforms -- including emerging IP-based video services.

BlackArrow did not specify which third-party ad systems the Ad Router supports natively. Last year, the company added a set of application programming interfaces, or APIs, to its core VOD ad system designed to make it easier to automate the flow of VOD orders from existing third-party linear or online ad systems.

BlackArrow's MSO customers include Comcast -- which also is an investor -- and Rogers Communications.

The Ad Router, a component of BlackArrow's Decision Suite, resides at operators' data centers and allows them to send national and local ad avails to different Ad Decision Services (ADSs). The software controls and mediates all real-time advanced advertising workflows, including ad-routing requests from different platforms to different ADSs.

On the programmer side, BlackArrow's Business Suite lets inventory owners manage metadata and avails, or placement opportunities, against their content. Programmers can specify how ad loads change through different windows, such as within the Nielsen's C3 measurement timeframe (which attributes credit toward overall live TV ratings).

"The solutions that will move on-demand, multiplatform advertising forward most quickly are those that bring new value to service providers' and programmers' current investments and relationships," BlackArrow senior vice president, product management Chris Hock said in a statement. "The BlackArrow Ad Router and Business Suite have been designed to ensure seamless interoperability with existing infrastructure and third-party ad systems for service providers and their programming partners."

The cable industry has high hopes for dynamic ad insertion on VOD, which promises to let MSOs and programmers start to generate meaningful ad revenue from free video-on-demand content. Canoe Ventures, the advanced-advertising company jointly owned by the six largest U.S. cable operators, recently restructured to focus exclusively on VOD advertising after winding down interactive TV ad efforts.

BlackArrow said the Ad Router and Business Suite are commercially deployed and in trials with "major operators." The software products are compliant with the SCTE 130 specifications covering dynamic ad insertion, and they support both IP and QAM infrastructures.

BlackArrow plans to demo the Ad Router and the Business Suite at the 2012 Cable Show, May 21-23 in Boston.

San Jose, Calif.-based BlackArrow investors include Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cisco Systems, Motorola Mobility, Intel and NDS Group (which is in the process of being acquired by Cisco).