Tandberg TV Tackles Targeted Ads With Xport, Watchpoint

By Ken Kerschbaumer

TV networks and cable operators looking to monetize time-shifted programming will want to check out Tandberg Television’s Xport Time-Shifted TV at The Cable Show in Washington next week and at NAB later in the month. “Xport will not only mean a more sticky service but also one that will allow operators and networks to monetize this capability,” says Andrew Rowe, Tandberg Television VP of software product management.

Cable operators continue to look to headend-based time-shifting services as a way to give subscribers DVR-like functionality without the need for expensive digital set-top boxes with hard drives. And networks, likewise, believe that the ability to offer targeted advertising within those time-shifted services is an important revenue generator.

Rowe says Xport Time-Shifted TV meets those needs. The software works hand in hand with Tandberg’s Adpoint dynamic-ad system and VOD servers to insert targeted advertising into programming streams. For example, a network or operator can insert localized advertising at the local, regional, or headend level and have it delivered to specific ZIP codes, income levels, or other demographic data.

Most important, the system gives the operator a single interface to control multiple sites, making it possible to deploy local, targeted advertising without requiring local personnel. It can also scale out to meet future needs.

The system, and similar offerings from other companies, could soothe nervous TV networks and advertising agencies concerned with viewers’ skipping commercials during programming recorded on their DVR. If advertisements are made more relevant to the viewer, it’s believed, viewers will be more apt to leave the remote alone and check out an ad.

At NAB, Tandberg Television will also introduce the WatchPoint Content Management System (CMS) to help operators and networks more easily manage content for video-on-demand (VOD) distribution.

“Viewers want to access content wherever they are,” says Rowe. “[The CMS] allows operators to automate preparing content for distribution and taking their systems to the next level. It’s hard enough to manage content and extend it to other platforms [like PC-based viewing and mobile devices], but this gives the operator an end-to-end view across platforms and the entire network.”

The system can manage any metadata format and any type of content and, coupled with Xport and Adpoint, provides what Tandberg considers a compelling combination of new capabilities. “Making content and advertising available across other devices and not just the Motorola set-top box,” says Rowe, “will generate new revenues.”

And these technologies are a boon not only for cable networks and operators. “Broadcasters will play a bigger role and be able to control their rights better and generate targeted ad campaigns,” says Rowe. “It depends on whether or not their business deals allow them to dynamically change advertisements. But they can definitely provide the cable operator with multiple kinds of content.”

The CMS works with existing infrastructure and is a software-only system while Xport requires a video server or caching device on the edge of the cable network to insert local ads.

Says Rowe, “These products are about delivering an individual TV experience and providing operators and networks operational efficiencies that create new revenue opportunities.”

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