Sales arrangement marks progress for Google's fledgling TV ad product.
Google has announced a partnership with DirecTV, allowing advertisers to buy national inventory on 11 networks carried by the satellite provider - including Bloomberg, Fox Business, Centric, and Fuel - through the search giant's auction-based self-service TV ad platform.
According to Google, DirecTV is responsible for selling between two and four minutes of ads for every hour of programming it delivers, with the networks themselves selling the remainder. The arrangement will see DirecTV effectively hand off its inventory for those 11 networks to Google, which will now offer advertisers access to ads across all dayparts, including primetime.
Speaking with ClickZ, John Saroff, head of strategic partnerships for Google's TV Ads product, said the intention was to help give online advertisers a taste of what TV has to offer. "Our bread and butter is bringing new advertisers to television - internet advertisers that have grown up with Google," he said, adding that over 30 percent of advertisers currently using the product are new to TV advertising.
In 2007, Google agreed to a relationship with DISH Network through which it sells ads across 90 different networks. However, that relationship is non-exclusive, meaning the type and volume of inventory fluctuates, depending on negotiations with DISH.
DirecTV, however, has essentially agreed to subcontract all of its ad sales to Google for those 11 networks, representing a significant step forward for the fledgling product. "This is a very exciting day for us," Saroff said, adding, "We hope to extend the relationship down the line, but it makes sense to start with a relatively small amount of inventory."
Essentially, Saroff suggested the product has been pitched mainly at small to medium-sized businesses looking for an easy way to extend their marketing efforts. However, a lack of geographic targeting capabilities would appear to limit its appeal to local advertisers, as could the costs associated with producing ad creative. In 2009, an agency exec told ClickZ that most small businesses have little time, or the inclination to experiment with the medium, stating, "You need a professional."
In Google's defense, though, it's precisely those hurdles it's trying to lower for advertisers, and by Saroff's own admission, it's still early days for the product. "No-one really knows yet what the strengths of the system will be," he said, adding, "we have a long way to go, but we're delighted to be in business with DirecTV. Saroff added that the company is currently in discussions with a range of other providers and networks regarding similar relationships.
The full lineup of DirecTV networks Google will now sell ads against also includes G4, Current, Ovation, Fit, Sleuth, Chiller and TV Guide.
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Jack Marshall was a staff writer and stats editor for ClickZ News from 2007 until August 2011.
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