Advanced ad technology provider BlackArrow is unveiling "BlackArrow Linear" this morning, which enables pay-TV operators to dynamically insert ads into live and linear streams viewed on connected and mobile IP devices. BlackArrow has traditionally focused on video-on-demand streams to TVs.
The move is significant because BlackArrow Linear broadens pay-TV operators' flexibility to offer and monetize live and linear TV Everywhere streams. TV Everywhere began as an on-demand only offering, but a move is now underway to expand into live as well. In just the past month, both ABC and Turner have announced linear streaming to devices (more here and here), with TV Everywhere authentication. While I have questioned how broad the appeal of linear is in an age of time-shifting and ad-skipping, I believe it will become widely adopted by other broadcast and cable networks over the next 12 months as they race to embrace devices.
As BlackArrow's president Nick Troiano explained to me, with BlackArrow Linear, pay-TV operators will have the monetization tools necessary to help their programming partners make the move to live and linear delivery on IP devices. This is a crucial piece for broadcast and cable networks to feel comfortable expanding beyond the set-top box. In conjunction with BlackArrow Linear, the company is also announcing collaborations with ecosystem partners Elemental, Envivio, RGB and SeaWell Networks to smooth ad insertion workflows.
Specifically, BlackArrow Linear allows dynamic insertion of local or national ads in linear streams, replication of original broadcast ads, swapping in alternate content (as in the case of sports blackouts) and targeting ads based on subscriber data. It also enables audience unification across linear, VOD and cloud-based DVR for full addressability and reporting and is integrated with third-party ad servers. BlackArrow Linear uses SCTE 35 cue signals and other emerging event signaling and management standards.
Nick expects BlackArrow Linear will continue to be trialed in select pay-TV operators' labs and in market for the much of 2013, which deployments occurring next year.