Targeted television advertising is finally here

I have written a few post about the future of television advertising (10/2004, 11/2006, and 12/2006).  Yes the web has taken over and yes video on the web is advancing rapidly but that does not mean that the $60b spent on television advertising will disappear overnight.  What is needed for the industry is a way to make television commercials more relevant, targeted, and dynamic.  In other words, some of the best practices and technology from Internet advertising should be brought to television advertising.  Throughout the years Visible World (full disclosure: my fund has an investment in the company and my partner is on the board) has been working on making this a reality.  Today, there is a great article on the front page of the New York Times business section discussing Cablevision's launch of targeted commercials.  Visible World is the company that is helping Cablevision do this.  We still have a long way to go but it is great to see forward thinking companies trying to redefine television advertising instead of giving up and letting the web take over.

"Beginning with 500,000 homes in Brooklyn, the Bronx and some New Jersey areas, Cablevision will use its targeting technology to route ads to specific households based on data about income, ethnicity, gender or whether the homeowner has children or pets.

The technology requires no hardware or installation in a subscriber’s home, so viewers may not realize they are seeing ads different from a neighbor’s. But during the same show, a 50-something male may see an ad for, say, high-end speakers from Best Buy, while his neighbors with children may see one for a Best Buy video game.

“We have, as an industry, been talking about this since the beginning of time,” said Matt Seiler, the global chief executive of the media firm Universal McCann, a part of the Interpublic Group. “Now we’ve got it in 500,000 households. This is real.”
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This post was written by who has written 358 posts on BeyondVC.

5 Responses to “Targeted television advertising is finally here”

  1. what Mar 9, 2009 at 4:35 pm #

    Yeah targeting by age, gender, race…. This will be a failure cause it is too targeted. Imagine 50+ people getting ads of only cancer and asthma and arthritis drugs or lexus and mercs….. Just for perspective, what’s your opinion on the ads on CBS. In my PoV, they suck, ’cause they are Over-Targeted. All they endup doing is make you feel that you are going to die anytime now.. Since i am not 50+, that is the sole reason i dont watch CBS, even though i do want to watch 60mins..

    Besides that this has all the trademarks of getting sued.

    Also, for comparison purposes, why have all the personalized news recommendation sites failed till date? ‘Cause they just keep you serving the same crap which you either are already aware about, or have too much off…

  2. notwhat May 1, 2009 at 7:20 am #

    ^ this dude’s an idiot.

    I look forward to serving him ads with laser precision.

  3. Tracrat Oct 19, 2009 at 4:04 pm #

    As intrusive as them having my personal demegraphic info may be, I would rather see targeted adds. If I’m watching Walker Texas Ranger on the Hallmark Channel, I don’t want to see Depends commercials.

  4. mountainsister Apr 27, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

    I am 70 years old. Do you think that I enjoy watching ads for mobility chairs and senior diapers every time I turn on the television? Hell no! I want to see ads for XBox360, Apple computers, sexy jeans, good food. I am watching less and less TV. The ads are so depressing.

  5. P May 24, 2011 at 1:00 am #

    Suppose you are a “young” senior citizen” and your home is targeted for senior ads. You are healthy and active and enjoy the same products everyone else enjoys like Pepsi, Honda, Geico, etc etc. Now suppose suddenly you are barraged by ads for mobility chairs, “final” expenses, life lines, reverse mortgages, adult diapers, urinary catheters and so on. How do you feel? Depressed? Anxious? It is enough to make you just turn the TV set off and go out for a swim or bike ride.
    In my humble opinion, this is a form of subtle discrimination. The advertising agencies are ghettoizing a whole group of citizens. I’m sure that Jewish people would not be happy if all the ads were for matzo balls and Kosher pickles. Blacks would be offended if all the ads were for hair straightening gel and watermelon. Targeted advertising is bordering on stereotyping seniors and most seniors I talk to are not happy about it. It is discrimination of the worst kind.

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