US ad agencies, MSOs explore possibilities in addressable advertising

NEW YORK: In the US, four major ad agencies and at least one automaker are exploring the possibilities of addressable advertising. They have been mandated by major clients and different constituents of the cable trade.

A US based firm has launched a new technology for multi-system operators (MSOs) with an intention of wooing them with the digital-into-digital insertion technology. SeaChange International Inc. is already entrenched in the digital ad-insertion market and believes that future forms of advertising — like addressable, interactive and video-on-demand spots — will become significant revenue streams for cable operators.

According to a release, the ability to insert ads digitally into digital-tier streams — a.k.a. Digital Program Insertion or, as SeaChange dubs, it "Transport Streams Insertion" (TSI) — was scheduled to be a main topic at the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau's Sales Conference in Chicago on Sunday, 18 May 2003.

The company has claimed that MSOs and cable operators in 20 top US markets have deployed that equipment, including Adlink in Los Angeles. SeaChange will promote the availability of "smaller, lighter, cheaper" digital-streams technology.

SeaChange vice president and general manager of broadband systems James Kelso was quoted as saying that the vendor will also talk up its Digital Transcoder software for third-quarter availability, although it's already being used by Time Warner Cable in Houston and San Antonio, Texas.

That software, an enhancement of the company's existing analog-insertion platforms, allows operators to reformat commercials, programs and movies for digital channels, as well as for VOD and HDTV. Several MSOs continue to experiment with addressable, ITV and VOD advertising, as well as with digital-streams insertion.

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