Comcast debuts VOD ad-insertion technology

The cable provider is the first to offer an active VOD ad-insertion platform.

Comcast has deployed digital ad-insertion technology with a plan to insert commercials into VOD content by this summer.

The launch of ad-insertion will be on three VOD networks: SuccessTV, Music Spy Videos and DriverTV, said. Comcast began testing Tandberg Television’s AdPoint platform last fall.

Comcast will be the first cable operator to offer an active VOD ad-insertion platform. Currently, VOD ads are built into the content before appearing on the server. Pre-inserting the commercials in this way, however, limits the use of topical content, such as movie trailers, and prevents the easy recycling of ads.

Major media outlets, including the Turner and Discovery networks, are expected to begin ad insertion for their VOD content once the trial run is concluded, Mediaweek reported, though that could be a year away.

SeaChange International, a leading VOD technology provider, is also testing dynamic insertion software, and expects its first deployments to be announced some time in 2006, the report said.

So far, VOD advertising is in its infancy, the report noted. Only $50 million was spent in 2005 on on-demand ad buys, compared with $250 million for ad spending last year for online streaming video.

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