Comcast Splices VOD Ads in Fla.

Comcast's Jacksonville, Fla., system has gone live with a dynamic-advertising system that can insert ads on the fly into video-on-demand content.

The MSO officially launched the VOD ad-insertion system, supplied by BlackArrow, on June 22. For now, Comcast is inserting 15-, 20- and 30-second promos for PBS Kids Sprout and FearNet — two networks in which it holds an ownership interest —into VOD content from those programmers.

Historically, VOD advertising has been hampered by the technical requirement that spots be encoded directly into the video streams — often several weeks before the content becomes available. Dynamic ad-insertion systems, such as BlackArrow's, can serve ads in real time, when a VOD program is requested by a subscriber.

“The ability to update VOD advertising will help us offer feature parity with traditional linear and Internet-based advertising systems,” said Comcast's vice president of video content Diana Kerekes in a statement.

BlackArrow touts its ad-sales software as allowing programmers to place interactive advertising across multiple providers. “By combining BlackArrow's expertise in advanced VOD advertising platforms with Comcast's VOD leadership, we hope to expand the business model significantly for on-demand advertising,” CEO Dean Denhart said.

Comcast is an investor in San Mateo, Calif.-based BlackArrow. Other backers include Cisco Systems, Intel, Mayfield Fund and Polaris Venture Partners.