NDS, BlackArrow Form Strategic Business and Technology Alliance for Advanced Advertising

--BlackArrow Raises $20 Million in NDS-Led Series C Funding Round

Advanced advertising technology provider, BlackArrow, announced Monday that it has closed a $20 million Series C financing round that was led by interactive TV and conditional access technology provider, NDS, and that also saw the participation of existing BlackArrow investors Cisco, Comcast Interactive Capital, Intel Capital, the Mayfield Fund and Polaris Venture Partners. The company--which says that it will use the infusion of capital to expand product development and accelerate the deployment of its BlackArrow Advanced Advertising System to programming networks and VOD content providers across North American and international markets--also announced the formation of a strategic business and technology alliance with NDS to offer an integrated suite of end-to-end advanced advertising solutions and system integration services. As part of its strategic investment in BlackArrow, NDS will have a seat on the company's board.

According to the companies, BlackArrow's multiplatform campaign management and ad decisioning services align with NDS's advanced advertising platform, NDS Dynamic, which is billed as providing solutions for identifying, measuring and engaging audiences--thus creating the framework for the alliance. "This investment further solidifies our long-term ability to help operators and programmers monetize on-demand content globally by leveraging the international expertise, footprint and complementary technologies of NDS, while assuring continued traction and execution in the marketplace," BlackArrow CEO, Dean Denhart, said in a prepared statement. Added NDS chairman and CEO, Abe Peled: "The ability to deliver timely, addressable advertising to on-demand audiences presents a major revenue-growth opportunity for operators and programmers worldwide. BlackArrow's market traction in North America, combined with its approach and technology for delivering high-value, targeted advertising solutions, aligns with the needs of NDS’ customers--from service providers to media companies."

According to the companies, their new alliance calls for them to integrate their respective technologies and to develop new solutions for global markets, focusing on delivering such advanced advertising capabilities as on-demand ad insertion, interactive TV advertising and addressable advertising on linear TV. They say the alliance will eventually also see them working to enable multiplatform campaigns across multiple devices, drawing on NDS's cross-platform experience. NDS's Todd Narwid told [itvt] that "there's very little overlap [between the two companies]. BlackArrow has traction in VOD, while NDS hasn't played in that space," he said. "BlackArrow has strong sales tools and campaign management on the programmer side. When you add that to all of the things we can do with NDS Dynamic, it's just very complementary." Added BlackArrow's Denhart: "BlackArrow has made inroads on the campaign management and programmer side in VOD, while NDS brings addressable applications, whether JavaScript or OCAP, linear or DVR-based--and the measurement that goes along with that."

NDS bills NDS Dynamic as enabling TV operators to manage, deliver and execute advanced advertising applications to improve their existing advertising sales and develop new advertising revenue streams--all reinforced by accurate viewing analysis for programmers, addressability and interactive advertising. The NDS Dynamic suite has three solutions, according to the company: audience measurement, addressable advertising and interactive advertising. BlackArrow's Advanced Advertising System, meanwhile, is made up of the BlackArrow Sales Suite, which is billed as allowing TV ad sales organizations to define, manage and fulfill multiplatform, multioperator advertising campaigns; and the BlackArrow Decision Suite, which is billed as offering ad decision logic and system interoperability for content distributors to deploy dynamic ad insertion rapidly in on-demand environments. NDS and BlackArrow say that their combined expertise will provide a framework for operators and programmers to generate additional revenues from next-generation advertising on advanced platforms, such as VOD, enabling programmers and content owners to sell and manage advertising inventory; platform operators to leverage existing network and set-top box infrastructures to deploy standards-based dynamic advertising solutions; and advertisers to better understand the reach of their message with proven audience measurement technology.

North America