The once elusive mid-roll VOD advertisement appears ready to join the quest for monetization. Technology is now available that can identify the natural break points in a program. This content-timing information is crucial for allowing ads to be spliced in throughout the video content."This is really good news for the industry because what it means is that more ad inventory is available," said Chris Hock, BlackArrow SVP of product management and marketing. "We can do ad insertion inside the break (which) opens up the amount of ads (that go) into mid-roll spots." His company is working with Clearleap, a multiscreen video logistics provider, to integrate this technology into BlackArrow's advanced advertising platform. Canoe also just tapped BlackArrow for dynamic ad insertion into VOD content.Parts four and five of the SCTE 130 standard come into play. A content information service (CIS) compliant repository holds the timing information for the mid-rolls, and a placement opportunity information service (POIS) controls how many and which ads should be in each break."All this information - the break point, when to start splicing in ads, and stop splicing, how many ads, who owns the ads, which particular ads - all gets packaged up and sent to the video pump," Hock said.This will allow programmers to keep original ads within a VOD asset for three days in order to receive C3 credit for Neilsen ratings. After the expiration of the C3 date, new ads can be inserted without having to replace the underlying asset. The POIS component determines whether new ads should be placed on top of, before, or after the baked-in ads."This (all) offers a lot of flexibility for both operator and programmer to do a single pitch," Hock said.The advertisements do not have to be done on a per-program basis. In other words, they can be dynamically inserted based on audience type. For example, there might be a heavier ad load for basic tier cable packages. Subscribers to higher tier packages, with more paid content, might receive only 50% of the ads, Hock said.The first use of the technology will be for VOD watched from set-tops. However, the same approach and standards can be applied to third-party and then consumer devices."SCTE 130 is written to be platform agnostic. It doesn't care if it is a QAM platform or IP platform," Hock said.Monta Monaco Hernon is a free-lance writer. She can be reached at [email protected].