Dish Upgrades Ad-Insertion System to HD

As part of an ongoing effort to boost its ad-sales revenue,
Dish Network is investing in upgraded ad-insertion equipment and software from
SeaChange International to insert advertisements in native high-definition.

The satellite-TV provider currently upconverts its spots
from standard to high-definition for insertion on HD channels. Englewood,
Colo.-based Dish expects to begin HD insertion on about 50 channels over the
next few months, said vice president of advertising sales Michael Finn.

"[HD ad insertion] is another piece in the evolution of our
ad-sales efforts," said Finn. "It allows us to deliver everything that the blue-chip
advertisers expect."

The upgrade will also strengthen Dish's ability to insert
ads across a wide array of programming networks. The SeaChange upgrade will
allow them to insert large volumes of SD and HD ads in as many as 600 channels.

"We insert in more channels than some of the MSOs do, which
tend to insert only in the larger channels, and we have broader base that we
sell to the ad community," Finn said. "We also deliver ads to 19 Hispanic
channels and we have built up a team to insert on international channels."

Dish has been using SeaChange's ad-insertion technology since
it launched direct-broadcast satellite service in 1996. As part of the upgrade,
Dish will deploy SeaChange's Spot 5.0 ad-insertion systems,
upgrade the vendor's DigitalX ad automation transcoding
system and acquire additional servers from SeaChange to handle the
increased load, said senior director, advanced advertising and VOD
sales Sanjiv More.

Both Finn and More noted there was increased interest from
advertisers in platforms that would allow their ads to be displayed in HD.

"You have the NBC Universals of the world who only create
their promos in HD," said Finn. "If you are not running them in native HD, you
are obviously not doing right by the creative folks that have spent time
creating those spots."

Operators are also adding the capability to handle HD ads.

"In the last years, there was a real push in the industry to
add more HD," said More. "Consumers are viewing more HD streams and cable and
satellite were adding more HD programming. It was natural that they would want
to insert HD commercials to capture those eyeballs.

"Those customers with HD are usually the high end of the
market and it is particularly important to reach them," he added.

Still much work remains to be done. "There is a slow
migration to better technology for delivering ads and we are still getting some
tapes in boxes," said Finn. "This is a legacy business that can be slow to

During that transition, the SeaChange system is designed to
handle a wide variety of formats.

"From an end-user standpoint, what is compelling about the
technology is that we make it as easy as possible for them," More said. "They
can handle multiple formats and play those out without having to touch the
content so that it is basically seamless to the end user."