IQ News: RealNetworks Unveils Live Ad Insertion Service

RealNetworks, a pioneer in delivering streaming audio and video content across the Web, today introduced its new live ad insertion capabilities at the National Association of Broadcasters confab in Las Vegas.
The Seattle-based media company also announced that radio and TV partners on its Real Broadcast Network, including Rochester, N.Y.-based WOKR-TV–a part of the Ackerley Group of local radio and TV stations–and Atlanta-based radio station WKHX and Grand Falls, Mont.-based KAAK radio–both part of the ABC Radio Network–would deploy the live ad insertion technology beginning today.
According to Kristi Larsen, product manager of Internet products at RealNetworks, the company’s ad insertion capability gives traditional broadcasters the opportunity to easily and seamlessly substitute ads into the cybercasted versions of their programming when they use the Real Player format. Inserting different ads into a live audio or video stream allows broadcasters to increase their ad inventory, said Larsen, as well as lets them deliver messages that are either nationally oriented–which would help when a local radio station sends its program online–or are tailored to a more targeted audience.
The roll out of RealNetwork’s new service follows last week’s launch of the company’s ad extension for the Real Ad Server, which lets advertisers target both banner ads and streaming media ads into the Real Player window.
“People who are broadcasting in our format can now send targeted ads to people as they watch content in the Real Player,” said Larsen. “Just like [DoubleClick’s] DART or Engage can deliver targeted banners into a browser window, now advertisers can send them directly to the Real Player.”
Larsen added that the ad extension could be integrated into existing ad serving networks such as AdForce, Avenue A, DoubleClick, Engage, Real Media and 24/7 Media. It would not require an overhaul of infrastructure and provides a single set of reports and analyses.
“[The server] counts clickthroughs and impressions just like it would in a browser,” claimed Larsen.
Shelley Morrison, vice president, media and distribution sales at RealNetworks, said that the process of educating broadcasters and advertisers on the benefits of advertising through streaming media has been ongoing. “A lot of advertisers don’t realize the assets they already have,” said Morrison. “Many people have a good grasp of the HTML world, but when it comes to understanding streaming media, there’s a way to go.”