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Watchwith Launches In-Program Ad Platform

Opening up a potential new source of revenue for programmers, Watchwith has launched an in-program, "contextual" advertising platform that can be delivered to IP-capable set-tops, smart TVs and mobile devices.

Watchwith, which has developed a national platform for enhanced, companion TV content, said its new program will enable programmers to offer interactive ad avails within shows that would appear at pre-set cue/trigger points.

While most programmers have been monetizing digital video using a pre-roll and interstitial ad model, this in-program approach will open up new opportunities for programmers and their advertisers in a world in which viewers have becoming increasingly “trained” to have access to ad-free content, Zane Vella, founder and CEO of Watchwith, said.

This, he added, will provide a new set of avails within the program itself, as opposed to traditional ad models that interrupt the show.

“This gives programmers a new revenue stream and a valuable new inventory that they can actually monetize,” Vella said, noting that the rule-of-thumb/best practice is to offer one such avail per program segment.

Technically, the new system will allow programmers to select or approve when the advertising message would appear and where on the screen it would appear, Vella said, noting that Watchwith’s system works with existing ad servers from companies such as Google’s DoubleClick.

Watchwith has honed its technology to control when interactive elements such as polls would appear in a program, and can now apply it to in-program advertising. He said Watchwith system has also been integrated with “machine-vision” tech from Arris (Arris is also a Watchwith investor) that suggests the best location to place the in-program ad.

And the approach is multiplatform, as it can be offered on IP-capable set-tops, smartphones, tablets, laptops, and smart TVs with ACR (audio content recognition) technology, the company claimed.

Watchwith said network partners are in active trials today, with NBCU’s Bravo among the early adopters (the new in-program ad capability example shown above is running in Bravo’s Best New Restaurant).

Other announced Watchwith customers include CBSi, Fox Broadcasting and Viacom.