CED reported on Friday that Comcast Spotlight’s Paul Woidke, SVP of technology, is leaving the company to join OpenTV.
“While I have had a tremendous time during my tenure at Comcast Spotlight, OpenTV offers a whole new scale of opportunity,” said Woidke.
Woidke will start his job as OpenTV’s SVP and GM of advanced advertising in mid-May.
“Paul’s vast knowledge of the cable and advertising industry will be instrumental in developing our advanced advertising business, not only here in the U.S., but also around the world,” said Ben Bennett, CEO of OpenTV. “Paul will be a wonderful addition to OpenTV’s executive management team, and we look forward to having him on board.”
Comcast Spotlight and OpenTV were among the companies that were involved in an addressable advertising trial in Huntsville, Ala., that started in December 2006. In that trial, Comcast delivered ads across eight cable networks that were addressed to different anonymous groups of households based on general characteristics that were selected by the participating advertisers.
The targeted ads were delivered with the support of OpenTV’s SpotOn advertising technology, which allows switching of video ads to aggregated groups of set-top boxes (STBs).
Woidke has been instrumental in developing technologies related to cable advertising. He is active in several industry organizations, including the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau’s (CAB) Committee on Local Technology, and he has participated on the Ad Hoc Committee of CableLabs’ Advertising Technology Task Force, as well as on CableLabs’ Digital Program Insertion (DPI) Subcommittee.
Woidke is the chairman of the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) Digital Video Subcommittee’s “Working Group Five (DPI)” and has helped developed DPI standards. He was the recipient of the 2006 SCTE Excellence in Standards Award.
DPI is seen as a key ingredient to the Project Canoe initiative. Project Canoe is an industry-wide initiative that seeks to build a common advertising platform to serve up the two-minute spots that cable operators have in their systems to advertising and media agencies across the nation. The single point of entry will allow the cable industry to offer ads to specific regions, track when the ads were played out, and help cable nab some of the advertising dollars that are currently going to broadcast networks or the Internet.
In March, The New York Times reported that Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Cox Communications, Charter Communications and Bright House Networks were investing $150 million into Project Canoe (story here).
The cable operators also hired a search firm, Spencer Stuart, to aid them in finding an executive to head up Project Canoe. This week, AdAge.com reported that David Verklin was stepping down as the CEO of Aegis Media Americas and cited unnamed executives who said that Verklin has been tapped to lead Project Canoe (story here).
In January, Woidke was one of the panelists who spoke at Paul Kagan’s “QAM Before the Storm” conference in Los Angeles that preceded the SCTE Conference on Emerging Technologies (ET).
During the Kagan event, Woidke said the cable industry and newspapers were losing a combined $12 million a day in advertising revenue to the Internet but said that can change with the advent of addressable advertising.
“Addressable advertising is the most important component of advanced advertising,” Woidke said in Los Angeles. “Addressable advertising is the single-enhanced advertising technique that cable can deliver with greater precision, accuracy and value to advertisers than the Internet.”
Woidke joined Comcast Spotlight in July 2002 and was charged with creating technology standards and best practices across the company’s footprint of more than 90 markets. His efforts encompass commercial insertion and distribution, including satellite opportunities with National Cable Communications’ (NCC) CableLink, Comcast’s Headend in the Sky (HITS) and Digital Media Center, traffic systems, and the rollout of segmentation products Adtag and Adcopy.
Prior to Comcast Spotlight, Woidke served as Adlink’s SVP and CTO, where he helped build a digital cable interconnect. He was responsible for more than 80 of Adlink’s cable advertising-insertion sites, while leading strategic technology planning.
Woidke has more than 30 years of cable and broadcast experience, including 14 years at Jefferson-Pilot Data Services, an international supplier of computer software to broadcast, cable and related media industries.
Woidke was credited with designing the Adtag and Adcopy infrastructure, first used by Adlink and now licensed by Comcast Spotlight.
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