Cablevision Ready To Roll Out Interactive Ads

As efforts to provide more targeting and interactivity move slowly along at cable operator cooperative Canoe Ventures, Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) is making a small step toward emulating the online ad model of performance advertising. Both the NYT and WSJ have the details on Cablevision’s plans to roll out interactive ads early next month. The program, called Optimum Select, will be available to all its 3 million subs. For the marketers who buy the premium-priced ads, Cablevision viewers will be able to use their remote to click on a “banner” that will provide more info about the product. It will also give viewers the option of making a direct purchase or receiving a sample. Since Cablevision has viewers’ addresses, it will handle the orders itself.

The interactive sales program move follows similar efforts over the past few months from Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) Cable and Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA). TWC launched its “promotions on-demand” program in January. The program is limited to the Los Angeles area. TWC had 22 advertisers sign on to the program by July.

Cablevision has made a number of small steps toward interactive ads as well as targeting. It already has interactive channels set up for companies like Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS) Company and Mattel. The channels also let viewers opt-in to receive more information, as well as letting them ask for coupons or a sales call. But not too many viewers will seek out such channels on a regular basis. Integrating interactive ads with the programming has long been the dream of cable companies. At the moment, Canoe Ventures, which is a joint effort among the major MSOs, has scaled back its targeting plans and is mainly focusing on a lead generation product. So it’s mostly up to the cable companies themselves to pursue targeted ads. Cablevision has made some headway there too. In March, the company started employing the targeting tools provided by Visible World, which also began assisting Google TV Ads this summer. So far, Cablevision’s targeting abilities are starting much smaller, covering only 500,000 in homes located in New Jersey, Brooklyn and the Bronx.