The advertising marketplace is evolving quickly with the introduction of new platforms, new metrics and new technologies. Jeff Siegel, SVP Advertising for Rovi, has experienced them all in his career from the broadcast model to cable to a company like Rovi which is one of the new players in the media space that is changing the framework of viewing preferences, content platforms and ad models.

In a video interview conducted a few days before the roll-out of a new Rovi initiative on Smart TV, Jeff talks about the differences between the broadcast, cable and new platform marketplaces, Set Top Box data, Metadata, privacy, addressable advertising and their new Smart TV Trial.

Below is an excerpt of a longer interview, captured on five short videos. The videos can be viewed at www.WeislerMedia.blogspot.com.

Subject Length (in minutes)

Background (2:49)
Rovi, Addressability (5:09)
Metadata and STB data (3:24)
Smart TV Trial (3:52)
DVR, CE Partners, Predictions (4:41)

CW: Jeff, Rovi has just announced a new sales initiative – the Rovi Smart TV Trial. Can you talk about the basics of this trial?

JS: Sure. At CES this year, we announced that we are serving ads and we have an ad platform gateway from the Samsung. Those devices started shipping about three weeks ago and we are starting to serve ads live into their platform. What we have done in the Rovi Smart TV Trial is to start serving multiple advertisers across multiple consumer electronic devices and multiple brands of CE devices. We will monitor all these advertisers and their campaigns over the course of the next four months and are building metrics to see how the ads interact across all the different devices. How does an ad on a Smart TV differ from a Blu Ray player verses a widget? Right now, the Smart TV Field Trial will launch with Samsung. Select CE manufacturers that have embedded Rovi Guides are: Sony, Samsung, Vizio and Sanyo. The field trial participants include Carnival, Brightline and Brightline's clients. In addition, Rovi plans to launch additional field trials in the United Kingdom and Canada in the second half of this year.

CW: We read a lot about the impact of DVRs and how people are fast forwarding through ads. What makes you think that viewers will stop and view ads and even ask for more information?

JS: We see that the environment is different with these types of ads. That is the basic difference. Our guides provide an uncluttered environment with only one advertiser. Also, we have found that when someone comes to the guide they are in a different mindset. They are there to search and discover content. If they see an ad that is tailored to them and they want to find out more information about that product, they can do that. They are not limited to a thirty second ad. They are not trying to get through an entire commercial pod that has nothing to do with them or their interests. It is self-selection, which is exactly what interactivity and addressability provide. So whether it is the service providers' guide or whether it is in the CE space, if a viewer is there to look for a widget or is there to look for a piece of video, they start with that home page and the core user interface on the CE devices. In this different environment, they can see an ad that is tailored to them and they can click on it and not miss any content. In regular pods, there is the chance that you might miss some content but that is not the case with our addressable model and user interface.

CW: How does Rovi handle privacy concerns?

JS: We don't do any individual targeting. We don't ask for information. We don't ask for data. We use IP addresses that are anonymized in scale. We use general logic that is applied from qualitative information to make assumptions from what people are watching. So we don't have the issue of privacy where we track cookies. We don't ask for individual information that is shared with anyone. That is not what we do. The addressability that we are talking about is really genre based selections. It is not about the individual. It is about categories.

CW: Can you talk about Rovi's metadata?

JS: Sure. Metadata is detail about each individual piece of content – whether that is a television show or an album or a song etc. We have a staff that creates descriptions of each individual piece of content such as the list of actors, musicians, names of the songs. So if I access Pandora and I pull up a song, the detail under the song name is the metadata that we provide. Or if I am in the guide and I click on a television program, the description of the program is our metadata that we feed to the guide.

CW: What is Rovi's total universe?

JS: Our interactive footprint is about 30+ million in terms of the advertising capabilities in the US. This includes our websites, and other advertising properties. On top of that, Comcast uses our data and is a patent licensee, The Comcast footprint on adds to our 16 million homes that carry the guide.

Interview conducted by Charlene Weisler, Weisler Media LLC. She can be reached through her research blog www.WeislerMedia.blogspot.com or at WeislerMedia@yahoo.com.

Read all Charlene's MediaBizBloggers commentaries at Charlene Weisler.

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