Virgin Media’s On Demand TV platform launches advertising trial

Mumbai: Virgin Media has launched the first advertising trial on its on demand TV platform. Brands including Kelloggs, John Lewis and Royal Mail, will have their ads broadcast around selected on demand programs from Virgin Media TV, Channel 4 and Warner TV.

The three month trial will take place across north London beginning this week.

The ad insertion technology, SeaChange’s AdPulse system, inserts ads before and after on demand content in real time, allowing campaigns to be kept up-to-date and specific to time of day or region. Virgin Media’s trial will match ads to program genres, test a range of ad lengths, including single 30 second pre-rolls, consecutive pre-rolls and end rolls, and update campaigns weekly. The number of ads will be capped and there will be a limit on the volume of programs that will have ads placed around them.

Virgin Media is also working with On Demand Group (ODG) for content aggregation and selected Rentrak Corporation (Nasdaq: RENT), along with ODG, to measure content performance throughout the trial and better understand the impact of on demand advertising on viewer behavior.

"The relationship with Virgin Media is a milestone for Rentrak as it marks our first European partner in the Video on Demand space," said Rentrak Corporation president and chief strategy officer Ken Papagan. "Virgin Media’s advanced advertising trial demonstrates Rentrak’s unsurpassed reputation for providing timely, actionable data which allows our partners to make the critical business decisions that maximize their return on investment."

Virgin Media chief commercial officer Mark Schweitzer said: "Virgin Media has pioneered on demand TV in the UK and we continue to innovate with new content, interactivity and functionality. As consumer usage of on demand continues to build, this trial will help us explore the best ways to reach a large and growing audience with engaging and relevant advertising."

Virgin Media is the UK’s leading on demand TV service with 4600 hours of content. 50 percent of Virgin Media’s 3.5 million TV customers watch on demand regularly and access to this service is provided for free*, regardless of what TV package they subscribe to. Usage continues to grow with 45 million views in August, up from 34 million views in January. This is an increase of 33 percent in less than a year and takes total views of on-demand content to 314 million this year.

ids and Channel 4 Agency Sales are managing the advertising space for the trial with advertisers including: Kelloggs, Lurpak, O2, John Frieda, COI Army, Alberto, General Motors, Royal Mail, Littlewoods, Bodyform, John Lewis and Anchor.