SeaChange Deploys Dynamic VOD Advertising Technology with UK Cable Operator, Virgin Media

--SeaChange-Subsidiary, Mobix Interactive, Powers Subscription VOD for Mobile Carrier, 3 UK

VOD and advanced advertising technology provider, SeaChange International, announced last week that it has begun rolling out its dynamic VOD advertising technology for existing customer, UK cable operator, Virgin Media. According to the company, the deployment sees its AdPulse On Demand software being deployed over Virgin Media's national SeaChange Axiom on Demand footprint (serves 3.7 million digital cable homes), starting with 300,000 homes this month. SeaChange says that 30-second pre- and post-roll ads from such brands as L'Oreal, Sony Ericsson, Kellogg's and Microsoft will appear around VOD content from Living, Virgin1 and Bravo, with program- and ad-matching decisions occurring dynamically, enabling on-the-fly placements into individual VOD streams. For example, the company says, ads for hair care products might appear before "Britain's Next Top Model," or ads for a supermarket chain might appear after "Restaurant in our Living Room."

SeaChange's London-based content management subsidiary, On Demand Group, is aggregating programming for the new service and providing ingest, publishing, Q/A and scheduling services. According to SeaChange, Virgin Media conducted a three-month, 100,000-subscriber trial earlier this year with SeaChange and On Demand Group, that found that viewers reacted positively to VOD advertising. The company says that over half (54%) of trial participants were positive about advertising when watching VOD content from commercial providers, and that 65% preferred to see ads before content, with 30-second ads proving the most popular format. Respondents also favored ads relevant to the program being watched, the company claims. "With over 66 million views of on-demand content each month, there is a clear opportunity for on-demand television to deliver relevant and effective ads to a growing audience," Cindy Rose, executive director of TV at Virgin Media, said in a prepared statement. "We saw a positive viewer response when we trialed dynamic advertising earlier this year and our customers welcomed campaigns that worked within the context of the program they'd chosen to watch." Added SeaChange chief marketing officer, Simon McGrath: "On-demand's attraction set in and gained audiences long ago. Now we'll begin to see highly relevant, value-added advertising play its vital role in expanding content quality and volume, as well as bringing in new revenue streams."

According to SeaChange, Virgin Media's roll-out takes advantage of the SeaChange Axiom On Demand open content delivery platform working in conjunction with SeaChange AdPulse On Demand software. Prior to the first deployments of SeaChange AdPulse back in 2006, the company claims, VOD advertising was "limited to stitching ads directly into program assets for their entire run, ultimately requiring advertisers to submit ads that ran for at least several weeks." The company bills AdPulse as enabling operators to increase revenues via real-time insertion of pre-roll and post-roll ads into on-demand program streams, including on-demand video games and DVD's. Making ads independent of the shows in which they run allows each to be trafficked separately, SeaChange says, reducing lead times for ad copy and enabling ad rotation, targeting and message refresh throughout a campaign. AdPulse further elevates targeting capabilities through insertion of ads into internal program breaks within on-demand streams, according to the company.

In related news: On Demand Group-subsidiary, Mobix Interactive, says it has been tapped to power and manage a new mobile TV subscription VOD service for mobile operator, 3 UK. Dubbed "TV on Demand," the service, which is based on Mobix's Adrenalin technology and which is billed as working on any 3 handset, provides subscribers with unlimited on-demand access to entire episodes of popular TV shows for £5.00 per month or £1.49 per day. "This platform gives us the ability to offer true on-demand TV, bringing one of the most popular types of Internet service to our mobile customers," Charlotte Blanchard, 3 UK's director of products and services, said in a prepared statement. "The TV on Demand service will allow our customers to watch their favorite programs when and where they want to." Added Mobix Interactive CEO, Damian Mulcock: "The introduction of subscription video-on-demand with full length programming to the mobile environment heralds a new era in the growth of mobile video. Our experience shows that penetration and viewing rates are enhanced by subscription on-demand services, and Adrenalin's capability to deliver this new experience fits with the convergence strategies of our customers and consumers' increasing desire for multiscreen access and on-demand viewing."

Mobix Interactive is now located in On Demand Group's new London headquarters, which the company bills as providing "3 UK and other customers with access to an integrated suite of services and technologies, including the Adrenalin video delivery platform and the VZ content management platform, to develop and manage on-demand services to any consumer platform."

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