Cable Op Puts Web-to-VOD Tech To Use for Ads and New Content

Streamlining VOD management

Streamlining VOD management

October 1, 2009 – Cable operator Bresnan Communications has linked up with Web-to-VOD technology firm Clearleap in a deal that lets Bresnan serve up VOD ads and create localized linear channels on the fly.

Bresnan is implementing Clearleap’s Web-based tools to manage its local VOD content and ads. As an example, Bresnan uses Clearleap to manage “The Spot,” a portion of its VOD section dedicated to local content on jobs, dining, events and real estate. Bresnan ranks as the nation’s 13th largest operator with about 300,000 subscribers in Colorado, Montana, Wyoming and Utah.

The operator has been offering that type of local content on VOD, but the Clearleap pair-up helps Bresnan deliver the material to VOD menus much faster. That’s because Clearleap’s product suite is Web-based. Once an operator hooks a Clearleap device into a cable system, the operator can then manage, sort and upload video from the Web to a VOD lineup instantly, explains Braxton Jarratt, Clearleap’s CEO.

“The process to get the content into a VOD system is still quite manual in most cases and can take days,” Jarratt says. “This automates the process so you use the online tools to make it happen within minutes.”

That includes long-form ads.

“The main purpose for utilizing Clearleap in the advertising division is for encoding and distribution of local and regional long form advertising to our VOD servers,” says Julie Harbour, director of interactive advertising at Bresnan.

For instance, Bresnan is running ads for local homes for sale on VOD using Clearleap tools, Jarratt says. Since much of the local real estate videos being created today around the country live on the Web, having a system that ports content from the Web to VOD opens up new sales opportunities, he says. Plus, home buyers don’t just research new homes online; they look on VOD too. “You can check your neighborhood and the price range, and those are played back as VOD ads,” Jarratt says.

In addition to the ad possibilities, Harbour says Bresnan plans to fire up additional Clearleap tools.

“In addition to the VOD advertising transport, there is opportunity for supplementing our VOD menus with niche online programming, which can be sponsored by local advertisers with pre- and post-rolls,” she says. “This would open up new revenue opportunities to finally monetize free programming on VOD without any heavy lifting from additional vendors. Clearleap makes this sponsorship revenue opportunity seamless.”

Bresnan will also use the Clearleap tools to ingest, manage and program local linear channels that will feature a mix of local and regional programming. Bresnan will be one of the first service providers to use such Web tools to manage linear programming, Jarratt says, adding the operator has deployed Clearleap across its footprint.

Clearleap customers also include Atlantic Broadband and four additional undisclosed service providers. The company expects to add two to three new customers in the coming weeks

Clearleap works by replacing most of the functions previously served by tapes, hard drive, FTP drops or transfers or manually pulling files. The Clearleap system includes a device that hooks into a cable system and operates like a VOD catcher , called Edge Exchange, while the rest of the system lives online. Edge Exchange establishes a direct connection to Clearleap’s Web system. Once configured, that lets the operator automatically push content out to the VOD menu.

“This is a better way to encode and ingest into the VOD system,” Jarratt says.

Clearleap has also inked deals with Web content providers such as Next New Networks and Revision3, which allows Clearleap’s operator partners to pick and choose Web content to deliver in their VOD offerings.

“This opens the opportunity for new kinds of content and you can replace and refresh VOD content,” Jarrett notes. “It lets you make VOD fresher or more regional, and it’s taking the Web work flow and speed and translating to VOD.”