Comcast Helps Ad-Supported Publishers Compete In A Video Subscription World

comcastComplementing Comcast’s massive cable footprint is a 750-person technology solutions group, comprised mostly of engineers who build video products for publishers and advertisers.

“We’re mostly focusing on video technology solutions that help customers improve how their video operations run,” said Barry Tishgart, VP of Comcast Technology Solutions, a division of Comcast Cable.

Projects include powering video-on-demand user experience, enabling multiplatform ad delivery and exploring innovations like voice search.

Comcast Technology Solutions’ latest priority is developing new monetization models in over-the-top TV.

In January, it launched a direct-to-consumer platform to help web publishers faced with a pre-roll shortage distribute and monetize video content directly to OTT services.

The direct-to-consumer platform, as well as other Comcast Technology Solutions tools such as video analytics, an ad server and workflow and billing system, are available at a fixed price or as a managed service.

“Publishing brands wanted to handle how they fund program content or book advertising against it, but not necessarily the operations backbone behind it,” Tishgart said.

Comcast Technology Solutions also advises publishers on the best way to make money for different types of video distribution models.

For example, many publishers are trying to figure out if they should monetize OTT via ad-supported video on demand (AVOD) or through a subscription.

Those with a print legacy tend to go ad-supported, since many see it as an audience extension opportunity for their print or digital advertising businesses. Most publishers also don’t have the resources or capacity to build a content library that would rival a subscription-based service like Netflix or Amazon.

“The more they can extend ad-supported content into new channels like OTT, the more they can demonstrate the value of what they’re providing in terms of building new reach with consumers,” Tishgart said.

One publisher, Time Inc., tapped Comcast Technology Solutions in September to launch its free, ad-supported video service called People Entertainment Weekly Network on streaming TV apps.

On the tech side, it used Comcast Technology Solutions’ video and ad-delivery system to serve live and on-demand content to its app on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast and Apple TV devices.

“Consumers are watching video through the People or EW app or they’re consuming content through Snapchat, our own website or television, so the strategy was ‘content everywhere,’” Bruce Gersh, SVP of strategy and business development for Time Inc., told AdExchanger when the network was launched.

Tishgart claims the ad-supported model helps publishers with niches like rugby or home decor improve their chances of success with AVOD.

“It’s fairly easy to target people with specific interests, but it’s very hard to create a mass, Netflix-type catalog of content if you’re a vertical publisher,” Tishgart said. “There are a lot of production costs and marketing challenges to generate higher numbers of subscribers. You don’t have to measure hundreds of millions of subscribers to have a successful OTT business.”

Enjoying this content?

Sign up to be an AdExchanger Member today and get unlimited access to articles like this, plus proprietary data and research, conference discounts, on-demand access to event content, and more!

Join Today!