Updated: Cox Teams With NBCU For Dynamic VOD Ad Test

Cox Communications and NBC Universal have launched a dynamic advertising trial in Phoenix to insert different ad spots and promos into the same video-on-demand programs.

In the trial, Cox is placing ads against two programs -- NBC's The Office and USA Network's Monk -- hosted on its MyPrimetime service, which provides on-demand access to network shows starting the day after they air.

Typically the MyPrimetime VOD service disables the fast-forward function, to ensure that ads cannot be skipped. For the test, the operator will disable fast-forward for The Office but will enable it for Monk to gauge results from both scenarios, according to Cox spokesman Todd Smith.

During the trial, up to four ads and/or promos are being refreshed several times per week for each program, including preroll ads (at the beginning of the program) as well as interior breaks (ads within the program).

NBCU and Cox Media, the operator's advertising services unit, are working with a large advertiser (which they have not identified). The Phoenix test follows Cox's technology trial earlier this year in Kansas, which tested dynamic ad insertion with VOD content from Cox-owned Travel Channel.

"The addition of dynamic ad replacement and impression reporting gives Cox MyPrimetime the richest available feature set for supporting advertising in VOD," Cox Media vice president of advertising product development David Porter said in a statement.

For the trial, the companies collaborated with SeaChange International, Avail-TVN and Texscan NT to support the workflow required for dynamic ad insertion. Cox and NBCU said they designed the trial to "explore the division of responsibilities, operational hand-offs and processes necessary to enable successful dynamic ad insertion" and combines standards from both broadcast and cable domains, such as the SCTE-130 specifications for dynamic ad insertion.

Last week, Cox announced it added six of NBC's primetime shows in high-definition to its MyPrimetime VOD service, which provides on-demand access to TV programs starting the day after they air: The Office, 30 Rock, Community, Parks and Recreation, Mercy and Heroes.

"Delivering top-rated NBC Universal television programs over multiple platforms is a win for everyone," NBCU TV Networks Distribution senior vice president Bradley Fleisher said in a statement. "Being able to effectively monetize on-demand content through collaboration with cable operators, programmers and advertisers makes that possible."

In a trial conducted by Cox and Turner Broadcasting System about a year ago, the programmer found that MyPrimetime increased views of eight top shows from TNT, TBS and Cartoon Network by almost 10% within three days of air.