Interactive TV News Round-Up (II): CableLabs, BlackArrow, CBS, Recording Academy (Grammys)

--CableLabs: Advertising Interop Demonstrates "Maturation" of Dynamic VOD Ad Technology
--BlackArrow Trumpets its Role in CableLabs' Advertising Interop
--CBS, Recording Academy Unveil Interactive Enhancements for the Grammys

Because the [itvt] editorial team has been working on The TV of Tomorrow Show 2012, we are covering stories in this issue in round-up/summary format.

  • CableLabs is trumpeting the success of a recent Interop event it held (January 23rd-27th), that it says showcased the integration of national and local advertising content and the delivery of specific viewer-relevant messages within video-on-demand sessions, and thus demonstrated the "maturation" of dynamic VOD ad-insertion technology. "In its continuing effort to support the advancement of advertising technology and specifications, the CableLabs Ad Lab hosted an Advertising Interop that included seven participants, each of which contributed infrastructure such as ad decision managers (ADM's) and ad decision servers (ADS), and demonstrated interoperability over a variety of use cases in dynamic insertion of advertising into video-on-demand (VOD) content," the organization states in its press materials. "Canoe Ventures demonstrated its national VOD Dynamic Ad Insertion platform as a key benchmark for participating suppliers. Additional participants at the event included: Avail-TVN, BlackArrow, Harris Corp., Nagra-OpenTV, SeaChange International Inc. and This Technology. Participants provided encoding and metadata preparation using Web-based software solutions for an inventory of entertainment content and ad spots. Among key achievements from the Interop: 1) The ADM and ADS systems were able to identify ad placement opportunities within a VOD listing, draw from the inventory of advertising inventory, and dynamically place the most relevant ad in either a pre-roll, mid-roll or post-roll location. 2) Placement opportunity, content and subscriber information systems were involved to select the most relevant ad to be played out to the specific subscriber. 3) Using multiple ad decision servers and a decision router, ads were dynamically placed from national, regional, or local inventories as defined by the placement opportunity information. 4) A number of participant combinations were integrated for the first time during this Interop, demonstrating the value of the CableLabs SCTE 130 profile--a defined series of interfaces and processes for supporting addressable advertising delivery--and the CableLabs Document Profile Architecture, which streamlines the testing and validation process for SCTE 130-compliant technologies by allowing developers to emulate multiplatform architectures. 5) SCTE 130 messaging was demonstrated between systems using the IPv6 addressing protocol. All of these steps were accomplished using the SCTE 130 interface standards, which define interfaces between logical components of an advanced advertising system that supports linear, on-demand and DVR delivery platforms, and enables granular levels of addressability." Said Canoe Ventures' chief product officer, Arthur Orduna: "This CableLabs event demonstrated that MSOs' systems, enabled by leading technology providers, are ready to handle national and local inventory splits for VOD advertising. This is a milestone along the path to delivering the appropriate operational support for nationally stewarded VOD advertising, which will enhance the value of the platform for programmers and advertisers alike." Added CableLabs' SVP of advertising, Don Dulchinos: "The ease of new integrations and success of the participants in implementing very relevant use cases demonstrate that we now have a more mature ecosystem for providing dynamic ads in VOD as a new cable revenue opportunity. CableLabs looks forward to hosting future similar events to continue the evolution of advanced advertising."
  • In related news: Dynamic VOD advertising specialist, BlackArrow, contacted [itvt] Tuesday to let us know about the role it played at the recent CableLabs Interop. "BlackArrow showcased technical and business solutions for allocating advertising inventory between service providers and affiliate programming networks--on both national and local levels--in adherence with the SCTE 130 standard," the company states in its press materials. "The demonstrations leveraged the BlackArrow Advanced Advertising System to highlight important workflow capabilities, including: 1) Support for national and local ad splits via Stewardship and Fulfillment Interfaces (SaFI), Campaign Information Package (CIP) ingest, and SCTE 130 real-time ad-routing. 2) Mid-roll support via the BlackArrow Placement Opportunity Information Service (POIS) and Content Information Service (CIS) product modules. 3) A modular, scalable SCTE 130-based solution set for advanced advertising. The demonstrations at CableLabs highlighted two approaches that enable multiple advertising inventory owners, such as service providers and programmers, to dynamically execute local and national advertising campaigns within a single VOD program and session. One approach showed how programmers' national ad campaigns could be flowed through the BlackArrow System for execution via the CableLabs draft CIP 3.0 specification, enabling service providers to exert full control over the ad decision and execution processes by aggregating all ad campaign instructions within their own VOD environments. An alternative approach showed the execution of programmers' national ad campaigns via real-time routing of ad requests to a third-party Ad Decision Service (ADS) for fulfillment in adherence with the SCTE 130 standard...In both the local and national advertising scenarios, BlackArrow's POIS component determined the appropriate ad loads and ad avail ownership rights, while the BlackArrow ADS module served as an essential component to fulfill all ad campaigns. The demonstrations also showcased BlackArrow's sophisticated mid-roll technology that is currently deployed commercially by several Tier-One cable system operators in North America. The BlackArrow mid-roll technology effectively grows the inventory available as part of multiscreen, on-demand programming, and enables service providers to employ different advertising-monetization strategies across various broadcast windows."
  • CBS and The Recording Academy on Tuesday announced the interactive enhancements they are planning for next Sunday's Grammy Awards. The enhancements include the online service, Grammy Live ( and, which will launch at 2:00PM this Friday, and the Grammy Live mobile app, which is available for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. "Beginning Friday, February 10th at 2:00PM PT, and running through Sunday, February 12th, Grammy Live will feature three days of exclusive live videos, blogging, tweets and re-tweets, as well as official news reports and entertaining updates from Grammy Live hosts Alison Haislip, Drew Hinze and John Norris," CBS and The Recording Academy state in their press materials. "Exclusive behind-the-scenes Grammy cams will give the audience an insider's view into some of the hottest Grammy Week events, including the Social Media Rock Stars Summit, the MusiCares Person of the Year Tribute honoring Paul McCartney, the Special Merit Awards Ceremony & Nominees Reception, the Pre-Grammy Gala, as well as an exclusive live performance from Almost Kings, winners of's 'From Your Garage to GRAMMY Live' contest...On Sunday, February 12th, Grammy Live will kick off with the 54th Annual Grammy Awards red carpet arrivals, the Pre-Telecast Ceremony and the official Grammy Celebration after-party. Additional behind-the-scenes footage will offer viewers a 'dual-screen' experience, complementing the CBS Grammy telecast with red-carpet coverage, backstage interviews, exclusive photo sessions with winners (with renowned photographer Danny Clinch), press room question-and-answer sessions and past Grammy moments...Mobile users will also be able to view Grammy Live by downloading the new Grammy Live mobile app, which offers videos, news about Grammy nominees and presenters, and Grammy history trivia. The app's interactive features include a 'Guess the Winner' poll, where fans can cast their vote for who they think will win across 20 coveted categories. The app also integrates comprehensive social media coverage of the event and lets users follow and reply to tweets from the official Grammy Twitter account (@thegrammys), along with the Twitter accounts of many Grammy contenders this year. Additionally, users can access a live stream of music from Grammy nominees on Grammy Radio. The free app, developed in partnership with Trailer Park and sponsored by Target, is available to download on the App Store. Grammy Live Technology Partners: 1) AEG Digital Media ( has returned for the third consecutive year to live stream the entire three days of Grammy Live. Using its feature-rich, multi-camera angle Tremolo Player and The MC--a new interactive polling app that allows viewers to answer trivia questions, participate in polls, and see interesting stats and announcements--online spectators will become participants as they watch their favorite performers arrive and vote for who is best dressed on Music's Biggest Night. To complement this, The Recording Academy will utilize new partner Mass Relevance's ( social curation platform to filter, moderate and publish interactive social content into the Grammy Live and experience, delivering increased social engagement. Grammy Live will once again leverage Akamai's ( global distribution HD network for live streaming and video-on-demand to power extensive live and on-demand streaming. Additionally, LiveU ( technology will be utilized, allowing live footage to stream without being 'hard-wired.' Thanks to mobile backpacks that bond wireless services together utilizing a LiveU proprietary antenna and HD-quality video transmission, spotty connectivity is overcome in low-coverage or congested areas. The Recording Academy has also partnered with the most progressive online companies and leveraged the best of both open source and proprietary technologies to deliver a cohesive, exciting and more enriching user experience for and, including Drupal (, Lullabot (, Ooyala ( and Rackspace ("
North America