• This Technology Receives Patent for Dynamic Ad Insertion

    Ad tech provider This Technology has been awarded a patent covering key dynamic ad insertion (DAI) functionality, the company has announced. The patent relates to "identifying dynamic ad inventory and defining attributes like ownership, length and interactivity, which are all critical requirements for targeted advertising delivery."

    That's a mouthful, and fortunately I spoke to This Technology's CEO Jeff Sherwin last week, who provided a plain-English explanation of why this is important.

    Ad-supported cable TV networks provide a few minutes of ad inventory to pay-TV operators as part of their business deals. Pay-TV ad teams sell this inventory, mainly to local businesses, which is why you might see an ad for a local car dealer or appliance store during a big game on ESPN (for example).

    Splitting up the ad inventory when the world was primarily linear and viewership was on set-top boxes was relatively straightforward. But now pay-TV operators have rolled out addressable set-tops, VOD and TV Everywhere to multiple devices. And ad-supported cable TV networks have embraced online and mobile as critical new platforms. Meanwhile, the video ad tech ecosystem - used by operators and TV networks both for legacy services and new online/mobile ones - is mind-numbingly complex.

    In short, appropriately allocating ad inventory and delivering the right targeted ad at the right moment across screens is harder than ever.

    This is the problem that This Technology addresses. Its Trajectory Dynamic Ad Insertion product relies on the new patent to connect video delivery infrastructure to ad serving platforms. Trajectory can be viewed as a sort of glue for the ad ecosystem that allows ad decisioning systems that dynamically determine which ad to serve to actually have that ad delivered through to the viewer. Doing so is of course essential to fully monetizing every view, regardless of what devices it's happening on.

    I have some personal context with this, and why it's so important. I always bring my iPad to the gym to watch my favorite programs during my 45 minutes on the elliptical, either via Netflix, DVR or Comcast's Xfinity TV Everywhere app. Last week, while watching AMC's "Better Call Saul" via Xfinity, at every commercial break, the SAME exact 2 ads ran (one was a promo for Showtime's "The Affair" and the other was an AMC promo). Not only did AMC not monetize my viewing, the ad repetition also detracted from my experience.

    The example shows how nascent the delivery of dynamic, targeted ads to multiple devices is today, and how significant the opportunity for This Technology is (btw, the company also noted it's now working with 3 of the 5 biggest U.S pay-TV operators).

    With viewers like me increasingly taking control over their experiences, it's essential that all of the ecosystem's players collaborate to fully monetize programs.