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Direct Response Marketing

Field Reports

1 Jul, 2009 By: Thomas Haire, Jacqueline Renfrow Response



By Thomas Haire (

Cablevision Expands Addressable Advertising to N.Y. Cable Viewers

NEW YORK — Cablevision, New York City's leading cable service, announced the expansion of its addressable advertising capabilities following a successful test with 100,000 subscribers. The expansion of the technology, which was created by New York-based Visible World, will now allow advertisers to reach more than 500,000 Cablevision subscribers. Recently, Response chatted with David Kline, president and chief operating officer at Rainbow Advertising Sales Corp. (Cablevision and Rainbow's advertising sales unit) and Tara Walpert Levy, president of Visible World, about the new technology.

How did the idea for Cablevision to test addressable advertising come about? How did Visible World and Cablevision work together for the test?

DAVID KLINE: Cablevision saw this as a way to make advertising more relevant to our cable customers and more effective for our advertising partners.?We saw this test as an opportunity to direct the most relevant, and therefore most valuable, ads to TV viewers, and by working with Visible World and its software solution, we were able to pursue our goal.

TARA WALPERT LEVY: It was a two-fold decision, I believe. Advertising has become an increasingly important growth area for cable companies as they mature, and Cablevision was excited about the ways our technology could drive more business. Second, the idea of using this technology for its own marketing organizations was also very appealing.

How did the process of creating the initial trial work? How expansive was it?

KLINE: We looked at our own internal marketing needs and decided that we wanted to reach subscribers who had one, two or all three of Cablevision's Triple Play products. By directing ads to these subscribers, specifically based on their level of existing service, Cablevision was able to see a double-digit lift in sales.

LEVY: Cablevision is a fantastic partner, but as a business they are very cross-functional. There are sales, marketing, engineering, operations, production and more. Together, we had to understand what all of these different groups want? One was to demonstrate the capability of the technology to be rolled out in a scalable fashion — in essence, creating an example to the entire cable industry how it could be done. Also, the business rationale was strong enough for Cablevision. We worked with them on segmentation and their targeted approach. As David said, this type of addressable advertising is generating high double-digit lifts. Cablevision has become a vocal supporter of this technology — its quality, reliability and ability to scale.

How did Cablevision measure the benefits of the trial against non-addressable advertising? How did Visible World and its technology help with the measurement process?

KLINE: The trial successfully illustrated the effectiveness and efficiency of addressable advertising, showing a double-digit lift in sales compared with non-addressable advertising.

LEVY: What Cablevision cared most about was sales impact. Their clients are looking at sales impact, response impact, engagement impact. Visible World supports these goals in any way possible.

How did Visible World's technology allow Cablevision — and how it may allow other providers — to have success with addressable TV advertising?

LEVY: There have been a couple of primary constraints that have limited rollout in the past — bandwidth and storage on set-top boxes. Ours is the only solution that's ever moved on a trial to deployment. We've done some unique things to minimize that bandwidth requirement, allocating bandwidth more tightly because of the relatively small size of application. The Cablevision test allowed us to reach 10-15 percent of inventory across 30 networks. There were no operational resource issues for Cablevision. Our strong operations, sales and account management teams work with Cablevision closely on functionality.

An expansion of the deployment was announced in March, with more than 500,000 households expected to receive addressable ads by early 2010. How is that expansion going? Are results so far holding up to the test results that prompted the expansion?

KLINE: The expansion is going well. This is no longer a trial; addressable advertising is real, up and running with advertisers on board and renewals in place.


Elaine Roth, owner of Direct Response Marketing Inc., and the legendary "Queen of PI," is retiring from the DRTV business after nearly 50 years. Owner of Direct Response Marketing for the past 29 years, Roth made her name selling per-inquiry media time. "When I started 49 years ago, it was not unusual to sell five LP record albums for $4.95, plus 10 cents shipping and handling. In comparison, now you can sell five CDs for $119.99 plus $3,000 S&H!" Roth exaggerates with a laugh. "Ah, those were the days when our attention was captured by those lovely, state-of-the-art two-minute and 15-minute commercials."

> Ronald C. Pruett, Jr., is named CEO of Mercury Media, a full-service direct response media agency. Most recently, Pruett was executive vice president and CMO of Polymedica/Liberty Medical, the largest diabetic supply company and a multi-channel DR company in the country. The media agency also announces the creation of Mercury en Español, a full-service specialty practice offering Hispanic, in-language advertisers a suite of integrated DR services.

> Paul Quintal is named president of Revenue Enhancement Consultants (REC), a performance marketing solutions for electronic retailers and DR marketers. Quintal recently led sales, marketing and business development for Trump University, speaking at Response Expo 2007 during that stint.

> Due to its dramatic increase in creative and production projects, Hawthorne Direct, a full-service DR advertising agency, hires Melissa Higgins as its second creative director for its expanding Los Angeles office.

> DRTV agency Atomic Direct produces a direct mailer and six-minute sales DVD for the new MegaMover Transport Chair by Graham Professional Medical Products. Initially, customers are offered an incentive by phone or at the MegaMover Web site.

Elaine Roth
Elaine Roth

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