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Week In Review: Comcast Ready To Take Its TVE Apps National; Dish Announces True Addressable Ad Buying Program For Sling TV

1. Comcast Ready To Take Its TVE Apps National

On Wednesday, we wrote about how the real threat to the new spate of vMVPDs like Sling and Sony Vue was not newcomers like Hulu, but rather the soon-to-be-expanded-thanks-to-Nielsen-TAM TV Everywhere apps from existing MVPDs, all of whom can also offer broadband access to create low-priced double-play packages for viewers.

Well right on cue, a story came out about how Comcast was looking at the contracts they have with the networks to see if they could expand their Xfinity TVE service outside of their current territory as a virtual MVPD. Not that they want to, mind you, but they wanted to see if they could, should the opportunity arise.

Why It Matters

This seems to be Comcast’s version of a “Trespassers Will Be Shot” sign: a warning to anyone planning on pushing a virtual pay-TV service in Comcast territory to stay away, or there will be retaliation. Comcast’s interface and X1 box are arguably the best in the industry right now, and their size allows them to get very good pricing from networks. They’ve also got a deal with Netflix and an possible deal with Amazon in the works. Add that up, and it’s a very compelling argument for their Comcast X1 app.

Comcast’s main target here seems to be other MVPDs who are thinking about using their own TVE apps to expand outside their territory. They’re just letting them know that if they try anything, the nation’s largest cable company isn’t just going to sit back and take it.

What You Need To Do About It

If you’re a rival MVPD, you’ll want to make sure that your own TVE app is Comcast-proof, which means making sure the UX is as good as it possibly can be. Not that Comcast is planning on doing anything, but having a strong user experience is unexpected for a pay-TV provider and the positive press/word of mouth alone will more than make up for whatever capital expenditures you’ll have to lay out to get it looking just right.

If you’re a network, think about how big you want Comcast to get and if you want to be a part of it. We’re not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing, just something you’ll want to think about.


2. Dish Announces True Addressable Ad Buying Program For Sling TV

While the broadcast networks try and disguise their indexed ad buying systems with impressive names and claims of data magic, Sling TV is actually introducing something that sounds like the future—a programmatic (e.g. automated) way to buy advertising on the fly for specific shows, that takes into account where the user is and what device they are watching on. So that morning commuters might see one type of ad that’s optimized for mobile viewing, while evening viewers might see another that works better on a big screen TV.

Why It Matters

While the industry talks about wanting to be able to offer true addressable advertising that’s served up in real time via dynamic ad insertion, it’s still very much tied in to the old system that revolves around selling most of its ad inventory on a linear time-slot basis during the upfronts. Networks don’t sell addressable advertising—let’s define that as an an ad program where two people watching the same program at the same time on their TV sets will each see different ads based on their demographics. That only happens via MVPDs and their vMVPD systems like Sling. All those nifty indexed ad programs the networks are touting in advance of the upfronts are just ways to advance their usual agenda and sell spots on specific shows during the upfronts.

Thats why Dish’s move is particularly radical and represents a big step forward. (And congrats to our friend Adam Lowy for getting the deals done!) Sling may not have the audience Comcast does, but it’s big enough, and we suspect that many advertisers and networks are going to be monitoring how this program works out.

What You Need To Do About It

If you’re an advertiser, most definitely check it out: there’s a lot of be learned by seeing how addressable works, both from a results standpoint and from a process standpoint. Tell Mr. Lowy we sent you.

If you’re a TV network, you’ll want to monitor this because, like it or not, this is your future.

If you’re an MVPD, you’ll want to monitor this because you are going to want to start a similar program via your TV Everywhere app. You may not realize it yet, but you are. Trust us.