New U.K. Ad Platform to Reach 3.7 Million Cable TV Homes; SeaChange Axiom On Demand Customer Derives New Benefits; On Demand Group Extends Content Partnership to Advertising
ACTON, Mass. & LONDON – SeaChange International (NASDAQ: SEAC) announced it has begun rollout of its dynamic VOD advertising technology for Virgin Media, the UK’s leading on-demand cable television operator. SeaChange AdPulse On Demand software is being deployed over the national SeaChange Axiom on Demand footprint serving 3.7 million digital cable homes, beginning with 300,000 homes from this month.
Thirty second pre-roll and post-roll ads from leading brands including L’Oreal, Sony Ericsson, Kellogg’s and Microsoft will appear around on-demand content from LIVING, Virgin1 and Bravo. Program and ad matching decisions will occur dynamically, enabling on-the-fly placements into individual VOD streams: hair care ads shown before Britain’s Next Top Model, or a supermarket campaign after Restaurant in our Living Room for example.
SeaChange’s London-based content management subsidiary On Demand Group is aggregating programming for the service and providing ingest, publishing, Q/A and scheduling services. With its business management, marketing and content management capabilities, On Demand Group was pivotal in helping Virgin Media to establish an on-demand segment that today brings in over 66 million views monthly.
“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,” said Simon McGrath, Chief Marketing Officer, SeaChange.
Virgin Media concluded a trial earlier this year with SeaChange and On Demand Group, revealing a positive viewer reaction to on-demand advertising. Over half, 54%, of Virgin Media’s triallists were positive about advertising when watching on-demand content from commercial providers. 65% preferred to see ads beforehand, with ads lasting 30 seconds the most popular format. Respondents also favored ads relevant to the program being watched.
Cindy Rose, executive director of TV at Virgin Media, said: “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. 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.”
AdPulse at Work
Virgin Media’s rollout takes advantage of its 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 in 2006, on-demand television 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.
AdPulse breaks new ground and delivers revenues with on-the-fly, real time insertion of pre- and post-roll ads into on-demand program streams, including on-demand video games and DVDs. Making ads independent of the shows in which they run allows each to be trafficked separately, at long last 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.
About Virgin Media
With almost 10 million customers, Virgin Media is the UK’s first quad-play provider of broadband, TV, phone and mobile.
The company is one of the largest residential broadband providers in the UK, using a unique fibre optic cable network to deliver next generation ultrafast internet access of up to 50Mb to just over half of all homes. Combined with a high speed ADSL service and mobile broadband products, Virgin Media is able to offer broadband internet access to virtually the entire country.
Virgin Media has the UK’s most advanced TV on demand service and is the only TV platform to carry BBC iPlayer. It is the second largest provider of pay TV, was the first to launch a high definition TV service and offers a high-specification, HD-ready V+ personal video recorder.
The company operates the most popular virtual mobile network in the UK which, when launched, was the world’s first such mobile phone service. It is also one of the largest fixed-line home phone providers in the country.
Virgin Media also owns Virgin Media Television (VMtv) which runs seven entertainment channels, including Virgin1, LIVING, Bravo and Challenge. VMtv is a 50 per cent joint partner with BBC Worldwide in UKTV, which consists of ten channels including Dave, G.O.L.D., Watch and Alibi.
Virgin Media Inc. is listed on the NASDAQ Stock Market and the London Stock Exchange (VMED). For more information, go to www.virginmedia.com.
SeaChange Serves Europe
SeaChange International is a leading provider of software applications, services and integrated solutions for video-on-demand (VOD), digital advertising, and content acquisition monetization and management. Its powerful open VOD and advertising software and scaleable hardware enable cable and telco operators, as well as broadcasters, to provide new on-demand services and to gain greater efficiencies in advertising and content delivery. With its Emmy Award-winning and patented technology, thousands of SeaChange deployments are helping broadband, broadcast and satellite television companies to streamline operations, expand services and increase revenues. Headquartered in Acton, Massachusetts, SeaChange has product development, support and sales facilities in the U.K., Germany, the Netherlands and elsewhere around Europe and the world. SeaChange companies in Europe include On Demand Group and digital television software provider eventIS. Visit www.schange.com.
Based in London and serving cable, telco and mobile operators globally, On Demand Group uniquely combines its unparalleled stable of studio relationships and extensive regional content rights portfolio with comprehensive retail marketing and business development capabilities to create some of the world’s largest and most successful video-on-demand services. The Company specializes in content lifecycle management, from acquisition through full monetization, today enabling the highest quality video-on-demand services across millions of TVs, phones and broadband connections. Visit www.ondemand.co.uk.