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Cable to Mimic Web's Interactive Advertising

Communication Technology reports that several recent addressable advertising developments were presented at the Society of Cable Telecommunication Engineers' (SCTE) "Emerging Technologies" conference earlier this year. Recent developments include the following:

- The SCTE has published SCTE 35 2001, which defines the Digital Program Insertion (DPI) Cueing Message for Digital Cable TV systems.

- A second standard, SCTE 30 2001, defines the Applications Programming Interface (API) for Digital Program Insertion splicing.

- The SCTE DVS 629 project is creating a standardized method for communicating between an Advertising Decision Service (ADS) and equipment that delivers the content to consumers.

- CableLabs' OCAP includes an Enhanced TV, or eTV, specification that will eventually be used to make it possible for digital cable TV systems to offer truly interactive ads, similar to what is happening today via broadband Internet.

Speaking on an ET panel in January, Comcast Spotlight VP Technology, Paul Woidke, predicted there wouldn't be home runs this year on the advertising front, but there will be "some singles and maybe some doubles" (a Baseball analogy, intended to imply small incremental progress).

"We'll see eTV and EBIFF in enough markets that we'll get to play with them," Woidke said. "We'll see addressability moving into some trials, and we'll also see some on-demand playlist trials, but none will be the thing that turns the entire industry around. Under those three metrics, and with accountability built in, we may not see home runs until 2008 or 2009, but some solid swings will be taken at the plate this year."

So, I'm still left wondering, by the time that cable TV is able to catch up to where the internet-enabled platforms are already at today, won't the state-of-the-art online interactive advertising capabilities have significantly evolved?

Meaning, given the current speed of innovation with consumer profiling and targeting techniques, one to two years seems like a long time to wait for meaningful progress.

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