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NCTA Panel Explores Local Spot Advertising

Cable local advertising groups are embracing a technology that once had them running scared: the digital set-top box.

Once feared for its ability to parse audiences into ever-thinner slices, digital set-tops now represent the gateway to a number of new TV services that are increasingly intriguing to advertisers, said Kevin Dowell, the senior vice president of Insight Media, at the National Show panel session "Local Motion: The Rising Role of Spot Cable Advertising."

"There was a time we were scared to death of the digital tier," said Dowell, citing concerns over audience fragmentation. But, he said, digital video technology's ability to open up new ad-supported possibilities such as high-definition TV, sponsored on-demand programming, and more precise ways of measuring TV viewership, are good things for local cable advertising. "The (digital) set-top box will become our hero going forward," he said.

Bright House Networks vice president of advertising Anne Ragsdale added that in her south Florida markets, on-demand has been a big contributor to advertisers like a local appliance retailer that combines traditional 30-second TV spots with deeper long-form content available on-demand.

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