Google Takes Another Step Into TV Ads with Startup Investment

Google is taking a stake in a startup called Invidi Technologies that helps advertisers target cable and satellite viewers with “addressable” ads. The search giant leads a $23 million round of funding that includes The WPP Group’s Group M and Motorola, as well as a handful of venture capital firms.

As part of the investment, Shishir Mehrotra, director of product management for Google TV Ads and YouTube Ads, will join Invidi’s board of directors. In a statement released on Wednesday, Invidi said the two companies “have agreed to work together on projects of mutual interest that will bring value to Invidi’s customers.”

“Invidi Technologies is actively advancing the growth of addressable technologies, which brings more relevance to TV viewership and advertising,” said Mehrotra in that statement.

This is not the first time Google has tried getting into TV advertising. It launched Google TV Ads in 2008, and has stuck with it despite seemingly tepid results, even as it has abandoned its forays into newspaper and radio advertising.

Invidi, which offers a set-top box that helps deliver targeted ads based on customizable sets of data, has obvious crossover appeal with Google TV Ads.

NBC began offering similarly targetable ads through a partnership with Microsoft last year, leading to speculation that Google’s investment in Invidi is at least partially a bid to stave off Microsoft.

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