Tandberg Bows Targeted Ads With Time-Shifted TV

Posted at 12:01 a.m. ET

Cable technology vendor Tandberg Television plans to demonstrate at the NCTA show in Washington, D.C. this week how cable operators can dynamically deliver targeted commercials within linear network programming that has been time-shifted on a server at a cable headend.

The Atlanta-based company, which makes video-on-demand servers and management software in addition to a range of compression and transcoding gear, will create a simulated headend in its NCTA booth and show a working system that marries its AdPoint campaign management software with its Xport time-shifted TV solution, which consists of servers that can capture live TV programming and then provide full digital video recorder (DVR) capability to cable viewers. Tandberg executives believe this is the first time such dynamic, targeted insertion capability has been demonstrated in combination with time-shifted TV.

The concept of time-shifting linear TV at a headend server instead of using a hard-disk drive in a customers’ living-room set-top, commonly referred to as “network-DVR” but labeled “network-PVR” by Tandberg, has been championed by cable operators such as Cablevision but has met with legal challenges from programmers, who have maintained that such technology might infringe their copyrights.

However, a network-DVR-type experience has been rolled out in a limited fashion by Time Warner Cable in the past few years with its “Start Over” and “Look Back” services. While it doesn’t yet have any commercial deployments planned for its combined AdPoint/Xport system, Tandberg aims to show operators at NCTA how they could easily deliver targeted ads within network-DVR programming in the near term.

“This is something people could do this year without any problem,” says Andrew Rowe, Vice President of Software Product Management for Tandberg. “The time-shifted TV technology is available, and the advertising management technology is available. It’s really tying the two together.”

Tandberg will show two streams of the same time-shifted programming with different spots dynamically inserted at the headend through the Xport server. One screen will display the capture of a live program, while on a second screen, the same program will be re-started with ad placements dynamically changed within the time-shifted stream. The solution is based on the SCTE 35 and SCTE 130 standards for ad insertion and features a centralized rights management engine.

AdPoint, which is already used by cable customers such as Comcast Spotlight, can be used in combination with Xport to deliver targeted on-demand advertising based on regions, ZIP codes, neighborhood and even individual set-tops, says Rowe.

“Each user experiences different ads, even though they are watching the same program,” says Rowe. “So you have full VOD functionality in a Start-Over-type environment, with ad placements targeted to them.”