Virgin Media plans ‘imminent’ launch of targeted advertising

Virgin Media plans to roll out a targeted advertising trial “imminently”, according to Mark Brandon, commercial director at the UK MSO.

Brandon told Digital TV Europe that Virgin Media was taking its move into advanced advertising “one step at a time” but that it would launch a full-scale service in 2013.

“I know there is demand for this,” said Brandon. “Agencies back it and certainly advertisers back it even more. Although Brandon did not reveal specific details about the degree of targeting or the type of clients involved, he said that advertisers were likely to look to target across fairly broad categories to begin with. “You could target to the micro level but the big advertisers only want a little bit more than they have at the moment,” he said.

Brandon said Virgin Media would leverage data provided by third parties as well as its own data in launching the service.

Speaking on a panel session at the Future TV Advertising conference in London yesterday, Brandon said that his company had already launched video-on-demand advertising and that this had been an unqualified success.

Virgin Media has also just launched its TV everywhere product and advertising would be added to this soon, he said.
Brandon said Virgin Media was also developing advanced on-demand advertising services for the TiVo platform. The company recently ran a campaign for HTC1 phones that sought to drive viewers to a branded content experience.

“Behaviour in TiVo homes is quite different,” he said. DVR use so far had not had a huge impact on ad viewing, he said. However, within TiVo homes, viewers were willing to get their content from a broad number of sources available to them without thinking too much about whether the source was the DVR or on-demand.

Brandon said that Virgin Media had invested in dynamic advertising systems and had conversations with advertising partners about how to manage this. In some cases, Virgin Media would sell the advertising itself, while in other cases it would take the broadcaster’s existing advertising, he said.

Speaking on the same panel session at Future TV Advertising, Simon Kelehan, head of content, UPC Ireland, said his company’s cable VOD service including seven day catch-up with an ad funded model and dynamic ad insertion would be rolled out very shortly. UPC Ireland was the first Liberty Global property to roll out dynamic ad insertion, he said. “We are looking forward to starting out on that journey,” said Kelehan. “We think it’s a great commercial opportunity. We think cable VOD offers broadcasters an opportunity to regain some of the ground lost to DVR.” Kelehan said UPC’s cable VOD service would make the disabling of fast-forward functionality available as an option to broadcasters.

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