Group Seeks VOD Advertising Solutions

New York— Innovations in Digital Advertising, a cross-industry group that includes major MSOs and cable programmers, last week provided an update on its efforts to facilitate the growth of advertising via on-demand TV platforms.

Officials for the group, which met here last Tuesday, are working with organizations such as the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing’s On Demand Consortium, the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau, the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Association of National Advertisers on such challenges as defining ad units and crafting new measurement metrics for ads placed on offerings like video on demand.

ID!A, as the group is called, gives various industry trade groups a place “to port into,” according to Tim Hanlon, senior vice president of Starcom MediaVest Group.

Along with Hanlon, Warren Schlichting, Comcast Spotlight’s vice president of new business strategy; Dave Porter, Cox Media’s director of new-media advertising development; Michael Stoeckel, vice president of emerging ad technologies, platform research and development for Turner Broadcasting System Inc.; and representatives of Rentrak Corp., Atlas On Demand, ad agency MediaCom, SeaChange International Inc., GoldPocket Interactive and MTV Networks were on-hand to discuss ID!A’s progress.

Several participants talked about on-demand TV’s vast potential as a medium for advertisers, once the issues of measuring it — and creating standard definitions and business practices — are addressed to all parties’ satisfaction.

Referring to Comcast’s rollout of digital set-tops, Schlichting said: “It’s absolutely in the road map to populate the world with a converter box that takes our digital subscribers from 8 million to 20 million, with all of those having access to some basic form of video — free video on demand — which is obviously important for the ODTV [on-demand TV] advertising pool as we know it.”

Hanlon made reference to the data that’s “latent” in new on-demand technologies and offerings such as VOD and DVRs.

“Those feeds of data cannot come fast enough, and once they do, that’s when we can start really valuing what ad exposures and ad delivery is in these spaces, and we can actually put money against it — the old adage, that which gets measured gets bought,” Hanlon said.

“That’s why we focus so much on this piece, cause once that gets solved, or at least is shown to being on the road to being solved, that’s when the real money starts coming,” he added. “Broadband video is a great example of how that is already starting.”

Turner sees rising advertiser interest in on-demand venues.

“From a selling point of view, the interest level has gone up tremendously,” said Turner vice president of multimedia marketing Chris Pizzurro. “So the amount of proposals out the door is much more than all the years previous combined.”