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Q&A: Rentrak's Carol Hinnant

Carol Hinnant joined Rentrak in 2006 as vice president of business development-on demand essentials. Prior to her present position at Rentrak, she led the distribution of Q Television Network, HereTV! and Great American Country. At each network, she was responsible for distribution, sales and marketing strategy for the linear, on-demand and broadband platforms. Hinnant began her media career in 1991 at HBO where she held various management positions in the legal department and affiliate sales and marketing. She participates in a number of industry organizations including: CTAM, WICT, American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA), and the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). In an electronic interview, Hinnant answered questions about the potential of VOD advertising with Local Ad Sales contributor K.C. Neel. An edited transcript follows:

Q: Is VOD advertising's growth keeping pace with VOD usage?

A: As highlighted in our “State of VOD” report, free on demand usage, which is the advertising supported content, continues to experience double digit growth.

Q: Do certain VOD categories attract more VOD advertising than others? Which are the most popular and why?

A: Certain VOD categories, like music, kids and TV Entertainment, are consistently top FOD categories. Like linear, these popular forms of content attract advertisers. As well, there are many niche networks on VOD that offer more targeted advertising opportunities.

Q: When will advanced advertising T&B systems begin to merge with traditional systems so operators don’t have to use two separate T&B systems?

A: Our operator partners are working diligently to integrate their systems and would be in a better position to provide you with a timeline.

Q: Is VOD advertising more of a national or local play for advertisers?

A: As it exists currently VOD advertising is primarily a national play since the advertisements are embedded in the content. As dynamic ad insertion rolls out there will be a terrific opportunity for more targeted and local advertising.

Q: What's the biggest hurdle to advertising on VOD?

A: Dynamic ad insertion is very important for VOD advertising to grow to its full potential. This will allow for the long lead times to shrink radically, ad campaigns to run during the appropriate time periods [vs. being married to the asset window], and for targeted advertising to be realized.

Q: What's the best way for local cable ad executives to sell VOD advertising to clients?

A: In the current environment, long-form advertising is the best opportunity for local ad sales executives to sell VOD advertising to local clients. Certain systems have more advanced capabilities that can be part of the VOD sell, such as telescoping, interactive RFIs, etc.