Ad Targeting on TV — What a Concept!

cablevision.jpgA new deal between TV ad targeting tech company Visible World and Cablevision will enable advertisers, reportedly including Chase Card Services, to test TV spot targeting on the household level. According to a TV Week story (via PaidContent), Visible World will match ads in Cablevision’s local ad inventory to set-top boxes as part of a New York test involving over 100,000 homes.

I put in calls to Cablevision and Visible World and V World responded, explaining they wouldn’t comment further on the news right now.

Consumer data from third party providers on info like age, gender, marital status, income, education level, occupation, number of children and shopping habits will be used to target the commercials. As noted in the piece, “If successful, Cablevision will roll out the capability across its 3 million homes next year.” Like behavioral targeting, this stuff is all anonymous since third party data are matched with set top box info, then sent to Visible World, which adds in customer data, which ultimately does the ad targeting.

The article notes examples such as pet food advertisers targeting homes known to have dogs, and auto companies targeting people whose leases are running out soon. (Or dog house owners whose leashes are running out soon? ouch.) I’m sure consumer products companies could certainly benefit, but my initial reaction is to think of how beneficial this will be to political advertisers that typically get stuck buying TV from local TV stations that serve regions beyond their constituencies.

The story also notes that “Visible World is in talks with other cable operators and video distributors, according its executive VP and general manager Tara Walpert.

Comcast and AT&T are also looking into striking up similar deals to offer ad targeting along these lines. Cox began enabling household targeting three years ago through Navic Networks, though “only a few local advertisers have even tested the targeting tools, according to TV Week.

If this sort of thing does become more widely available and advertisers take advantage of it, it certainly could cause them to reconsider some of their online ad spend (you know, the stuff that already allows for refined targeting?). The thing is, by the time it does become more pervasive, we’ll probably all be viewing and interacting through the same multimedia screen anyway, so it won’t matter! I’m sure the timing won’t be so close, but media convergence is something to consider here.

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