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FreeWheel Offering Set-Top VOD Ads Via Programmatic

FreeWheel, Comcast’s ad-tech company, said it will begin selling commercials during set-top-box video-on-demand programming using a solution developed by Comcast Technology Solutions, another arm of the company.

There is an increasing number of ad buyers and clients looking to buy commercials using data to target viewers and programmatic to automate the process.

Distributors are figuring out how to automate selling ads in programming that is not delivered via internet protocol, including traditional linear channels and set-top VOD.

“Programmatic advertising is becoming a more important part of our premium video buying strategies,” said Jason Kanefsky, chief investment officer, Havas Media. “Advancements that allow us to get greater scale, more consistent targeting and a unified view of the total viewing audience are needed. As viewers continue to shift their consumption across platforms, in particular younger demographics, extending reach in new ways is critical. The addition of STB VOD inventory to our programmatic arsenal will be an important step in this direction.”

Comcast said its new solution gives advertisers that access to more content as part of their programmatic buys across connected TV and digital video channels. The solution manages to overcome special issues with set-top-box VOD than had hindered the ability to bring it to advertisers at the speed required for automated bidding within FreeWheel’s unified auction structure.

“Our key goal is to ensure buyers and sellers can seamlessly transact across all content types and allow for our robust data and decisioning capabilities to work wherever viewers are watching premium video. Working with Comcast Technology Solutions to bring Set-Top Box VOD into the mix is an enormous step forward,” said Dave Clark, general manager, FreeWheel. “Allowing programmatic, marketplace access to this growing viewership segment will open new sources of growth to our supply-side clients, and just as importantly, will allow advertisers to tap into this premium, living room quality content as part of their unified video strategy.”

The new system combines the ad targeting capabilities of FreeWheel’s ad decision engine with the ad creative distribution capabilities of Comcast Technology Solutions’ Ad Store, providing realtime, broadcast quality creative conditioning and distribution to all STB VOD MVPD end points, the companies said.

“Video-on-demand content has skyrocketed in importance in terms of video viewership, as consumers flock to the engaged, big-screen viewing environment in their own living rooms. However, until today, it has not been possible to effectively monetize this content in the same programmatic fashion as other video inventory,” said Richard Nunn, VP and general manager of advertiser solutions at Comcast Technology Solutions. “By enabling unified programmatic auctions and seamless distribution of ad assets across all inventories including STB VOD, we are helping programmers and distributors open up new opportunities for advertising."

Jon Lafayette
Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.