Advertising Technology

Nick Troiano on BlackArrow’s Plan to Advance the Advertising Industry

Nick Troiano_headshotNick Troiano joined BlackArrow as president in March 2009. BlackArrow is the San Jose, California-based provider of advanced advertising technology for New TV platforms. As president, Nick oversees all go-to-market activities for BlackArrow, where he is responsible for building the company’s advanced advertising business for networks and content distributors. The Makegood recently spoke with Nick about how BlackArrow is advancing the advertising industry and the launch of the Advanced Advertising Media Project (AAMP).

The Makegood: Can you speak a bit about what you’ve done at BlackArrow since coming on in 2009? What initiatives have you been undertaking and how have you helped them grow?

It’s been a great 4+ years at Blackarrow.  Since I’ve joined, we’ve acquired Comcast, TWC and Rogers as key customers and worked with them to build out a VOD marketplace that now reaches more than 30 million homes across 27 of the top 30 DMAs.  We’ve also partnered with Canoe, and this has helped bring over 50 programming networks actively running DAI campaigns across our footprint today.

Recently, BlackArrow has expanded its product portfolio to include audience management and data solutions. We have also extended our ad management capabilities to linear addressable IP platforms to help our customers reach their audiences anywhere as well as anytime.

One of BlackArrow’s goals since I’ve joined has been to develop strategic projects that advance the industry’s growth as a whole.

To help quantify the impact of on-demand advertising in the marketplace, we launched AAMP – an industry initiative founded by BlackArrow and the 4A’s, with charter members including top broadcasters, cable networks and advertising agencies.  Via AAMP’s multiphase approach, we have currently highlighted the market opportunity and advertising business models for VOD, and in 2014, we expect to finish the 3rd phase which produces live market data.

Most recently we announced the BlackArrow Advisory Board. Comprised of extremely experienced and influential members of the pay-TV ecosystem, the goal of the board is to help BlackArrow and the industry address the challenges and opportunities that are present in the ever-changing TV ecosystem.

The Makegood: Is there anything you could have done better/will do better over the coming months and years at BlackArrow?

We believe in the convergence of the TV and digital worlds. There are both technical and business realities for all participants in the evolving ecosystem, including consumers, operators, agencies, content owners and advertisers. We’ve learned over the years that no material change will happen without the general agreement and collaboration between all constituents – whether it’s establishing a currency for cross platform monetization, or a la carte programming, or programmatic buying to closed premium networks – we are all interdependent. But now that we have critical reach, the inventory is there and dollars are flowing. Going forward, we’ll be helping the industry take advantage of on-demand, and more broadly, targeted TV. The BlackArrow Advisory Board is one of the steps we are now taking in that direction.

The Makegood: How has your business changed as customers have been moving away from classic television in favor of tablets, computers and phones? Would you say it has been easier or more difficult for you to reach consumers for your clients and why?

These consumer changes actually play into BlackArrow’s strengths. Our business was predicated on viewers shifting from traditional broadcast television to watching TV on any device, whenever they want. This behavior raises a fundamental challenge for the industry: reaching the right audiences with the right message and with the right frequency as they watch across different platforms. With our products, BlackArrow solves those problems while maintaining the value of the TV business.

The Makegood: Can you talk about some of the more recent trends going on in your industry that the casual observer might not have noticed?

Bringing new digital-like capabilities – targeting, audience segmentation tools, real-time viewer data including engagement data – to TV advertising raises some interesting questions:
How do you mix traditional linear TV buys with new addressable advertising to optimize effectiveness of a marketing spend?
How do you now consider reach and frequency as audiences span multiple TV platforms?
How can the mix of the right data sources and technology help show TV advertising effectiveness?
How do emerging capabilities such as addressability, VOD advertising, and multiscreen experiences get factored in the mix.
Industry thought leaders, like our Advisory Board, are starting to weigh in on these topics.

The Makegood: What are your long-term plans at BlackArrow? How will this company stay competitive in an ever-changing landscape?

Our goals are simple. We want to solve the challenges of making advertising more efficient and effective while helping everyone in the TV ecosystem, including the consumers, benefit from a successful and growing TV industry. It starts with our ability to help the industry reach audiences as viewing behaviors continue to shift, but it also means getting the industry access to the data that will keep advertising meaningful.

The Makegood: Thank you, Nick