NDS shoots for BlackArrow advertising

By Julian Clover
April 19, 2010 09.00 UK

NDS is leading a $20 million (€14.81m) investment round in advanced advertising solutions provider BlackArrow. It has also formed a strategic alliance with the San Jose-based venture to offer an integrated suite of advanced advertising solutions and services.

The Series C financing also included existing investors Cisco Systems, Comcast Interactive Capital, Intel Capital, Mayfield Fund and Polaris Venture Partners. The exact amount of the NDS contribution has not been disclosed.

The cash will be used to accelerate the deployment of the BlackArrow Advanced Advertising System to programming networks and on-demand television content providers both in North America and internationally.

Nick Thexton, senior VP R&D, new initiatives at NDS explained the initiative would combine NDS’ skills in STB software and addressability with Black Arrow’s expertise in campaign management and ad decision optimization. He admitted the current priority was North America, but that the offering would be worldwide. “All operators have felt the impact of the drop in ad revenues but as these pick up again there is renewed interest in more sophisticated ways of selling inventory and reducing wastage,” Thexton told Broadband TV News. “Wherever operators are installing VOD systems there is interest in the advertising element although regulatory issues vary across Europe. Because of the way Germany splits advertising revenues, for example, it represents a strong opportunity.”

BlackArrow’s Advanced Advertising System covers arenas that range from internet video through to intricate cable and operator infrastructures. It also embraces the multiscreen environment where audiences are looking to timeshift viewing to their televisions, computers and mobile phones. It is an area not lost on competitors, particularly in the North American market, where OpenTV and Arris have a joint solution and extending to SeaChange’s EventIS business.

The BlackArrow investment will see an NDS representative sit on the BlackArrow board of directors.