Avoiding the Traffic Jam of TV EverywhereCable nets eye integrated solutions to better handle multiplatform delivery 2/11/2013 12:01:00 AM Eastern
A significant amount of traffic
and billing systems contracts for cable
networks are coming up for grabs this
year. And like any athlete in a contract year, providers
of those systems have been working overtime
to improve the tools they can sell to clients.
“There is an enormous potential turnover of
contract awards in this area,” says WideOrbit
founder and CEO Eric Mathewson. Mathewson
estimates that as much as “one-third of the money”
in the traffic and billing business for cable
nets is in play over the next six months.
In the battle for this business, one key area
has been improved tools for managing the multiplatform
delivery of content and ads for TV
Everywhere deals, notes John Sorensen, president
of Broadway Systems. “Advertisers want to
make combined buys, and channels need tools
to make combined guarantees and combined
stewardship on the deal,” Sorensen says.
As networks make more content available on
more platforms, cable networks and multichannel
providers are also looking for solutions to
enhance those digital ads, either with secondscreen
applications or targeted ads, notes John
Larrabee, VP of sales for the Americas at Pilat
Media. “A lot of the work we do with AT&T has
to do with targeting,” Larrabee says.
The interest in better ad solutions for multiplatform
delivery and for targeting helped
prompt a recent deal between DirecTV and
FreeWheel. As part of that agreement, the
multichannel satellite provider will deploy
FreeWheel’s digital video ad insertion for TV
Everywhere content in late 2013 and Direc-TV will take an equity stake in the company.
Turner and Disney’s Steamboat Ventures already
have stakes in FreeWheel.
Freewheel co-CEO Jon Heller says delivery of
ads and content across multiple platforms and
devices makes things more complex, creating
demand for solutions that can handle all the different
pieces. “The whole ecosystem has to work
together to make it work smoothly,” he says.
In addition to the DirecTV deal, several other
companies have been investing to expand their
offerings. SintecMedia recently acquired StorerTV
and Argo Systems to expand its North American
presence, where it already works with NBCUniversal,
ABC and Televisa, notes Tom Hultquist,
SintecMedia director, sales engineering.
Meanwhile, WideOrbit has been hiring
more people in the cable network area to help
support the company’s WO Network product,
which has inked contracts with three major
new clients in the last year, Mathewson notes.
Solutions: The Ties That Bind
The increased complexity of multiplatform
delivery has also highlighted the importance of
solutions that can automatically track rights, residuals
and other issues for linear TV, VOD and
digital media. “They need a systemwide understanding
of the rights and restrictions they have
on different platforms,” says Hultquist.
This complexity also makes it increasingly
important that traffic, billing and sales systems
be closely tied together. “Networks are frustrated
with the disconnect in offerings,” with separate
traffic and sales systems that make it difficult to effectively
“optimize their revenue and inventory,”
says Broadway’s Sorensen. The company has
long offered a single solution for all those areas.
“Integration [between different systems]
has been a major problem and something
that cable networks have been very frustrated
with,” adds Mathewson. WideOrbit began offering
a single solution WO Network about 18
months ago for cable networks.
Better integration is also producing changes
at some of the ad delivery services. Yangaroo recently
launched its Reporter automated traffic
management system that automatically sends reports
back to the advertiser, notes Karen Dealy,
president of U.S. advertising operations at the
company. Looking ahead, Yangaroo is talking to
cable networks about even deeper integration
with existing traffic and billing systems.
Many of the vendors are also upgrading
their analytics tools. Harris Broadcast is working
on a new version of its NetGain analytics
software, which has been adopted by a number
of major clients including Univision and
Sinclair, says Scott Criley, director, media and
workflow, Harris Broadcast.
Harris’ new 2.4.1 version of NetGain that
will be available in April at the NAB show will
include better visualization of data, advanced
predictive analytic capabilities and an interface
with the open source “R” analytics platform
that will provide clients with a number of advanced
features, Criley says.
Harris is also making it easier for sales executives
to access the system on mobile devices and
is planning to bring in social media analytics.
“People are looking for better tools for data
mining techniques and the ability to look into
the future with advanced predictive analytics
techniques,” Criley says.