BlackArrow Brings Web Mojo to Cable Ops

Web alternatives, video-on-demand, and DVRs are increasingly moving in on the bottom lines of cable companies — and they’re feeling the crunch. Enter BlackArrow, a startup with offices in San Mateo, Calif. and New York City that’s been working in the wings to steal back some of that web mojo for the cable operators. Today it’s coming out of stealth mode to launch its multiplatform ad management system, one that’s already well on its way to being integrated with systems including Cisco’s Scientific Atlanta (CSCO).

“In this new world, there’s no time slots — now they’ve got to sell this as targeted advertising, and build a CPM-like rate card,” said BlackArrow CEO Dean Denhart, who joined the company in April, in an interview with NewTeeVee last week. “It’s a clash of the web sales model with traditional television. It does require them to think differently, but it’s still a TV relationship-based approach.”

BlackArrow’s platform manages, delivers, and measures targeted advertising across broadband, VOD, and eventually DVR platforms. Its customers are both cable operators and content owners, though none have been announced publicly yet. The two-and-a-half-year-old company has $17 million in funding from Cisco, Comcast Interactive Capital (CMCSA), Intel (INTC), Mayfield Fund, and Polaris Venture Partners.

Sooner or later BlackArrow is going to end up competing with Google (GOOG). The web giant has a similar system for television companies and satellite broadcasters, part of its master plan to build a single platform for all advertising.

BlackArrow has 35 employees, including Denhart and Sharon Mandell, who at various times both served as CTO of Knight Ridder Digital, and Patrick Carter, also previously on the tech side at Knight Ridder Digital. Mandell and Carter will lead technology and operations, respectively. The company recently added Chris Hock, well-known for his work as VP of product management for Flash at Adobe (ADBE); Larry Kramer, founder of MarketWatch.com and formerly president of CBS (CBS) Digital, serves on the company’s board.

We first wrote about BlackArrow after coming across its cryptic landing page earlier this year.

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