US Cable Giant Adds Ads to VoD

19 January 2006

Another advertising dream sidles up on reality (see today's Apollo story).

Want to advertise on a programs you know will be watched - along with your indelibly embedded ads? Then you'll welcome Exercise TV, a video-on-demand channel launched today by America's largest cable operator Comcast.

Comcast subscribers with digital set-top boxes can already watch replays of TV shows, on demand and for free. Typically these viewers see the ads that ran with the original program - an endurance test failed by many who fast-forward through the commercial breaks.

But on Exercise TV, the ads will be integrated into the programs ensuring they are viewed. Sports footwear manufacturer New Balance has acquired exclusive advertising rights to around ninety fitness episodes. For an outlay of "several million dollars", the company is able to insert its logo and products within and around the programs.

But while advertisers and agencies might enthuse over by this new opportunity to snare a captive audience, analysts are (as ever) cynical.

"Cable companies could alienate viewers if they place too many ads in their on-demand programs and make them too much like commercial television," opines Points North Group analyst Craig Leddy.

Data sourced from New York Times; additional content by WARC staff