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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Taking advantage of the horrible environment

My expectations for 2009 are that things will get worse before they get better.  On the portfolio company side, I would rather have my companies growing at a lesser rate getting closer to breakeven than growing too aggressively and burning lots of cash.  Once your house is in order (see some earlier posts I made […]

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Cisco raises another $4b in cash and looking for acquisitions

Ashlee Vance from the Bits Blog has a nice piece on why Cisco raised another $4b of cash through a debt offering yesterday even though they have $30b in cash.  "As word of Cisco’s debt sale hit Wall Street, the standard chatter surrounding possible targets began anew. As usual, companies like EMC, NetApp, Sun Microsystems, […]

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Best iPhone Photo App – Phanfare Photon

It is great to see my friend Andrew Erlichson getting some rave reviews for Phanfare Photon, his iPhone photo app.  According to ReadWriteWeb:"Phanfare's Photon is currently the best photo sharing and photo management app on the iPhone. It is important to note that Photon puts less emphasis on social feature than other services like Radar, […]

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Positioning and pitch decks for startups

A friend of mine is putting together his first deck for potential investors.  In typical startup fashion, they launched a product, got a number of users, and then iterated several times to improve the service.  With the product in the hands of tens of thousands of users, they started getting inbound requests from larger organizations […]

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Sundance and a movie about a web pioneer you may have never heard of

My brother-in-law, composer and recent Emmy winner, Ben Decter, is kicking it this week in Sundance while two of his movies Heart of Stone and We Live in Public make the rounds. This summer he and I spoke about We Live in Public and Josh Harris.  It took me a few minutes to remember who […]

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Going old school – how to reach people effectively

I had lunch with a friend last week when we were talking about the days years and years ago where it was cool to have an email address on your business card.  In fact, I remember picking attorneys to work on our venture deals in the mid-90s not only based on cost and experience but […]

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Is 2009 the year of mobile computing?

 As I look around post-holiday season, I am seeing more and more regular, non-technical friends and family get connected on their mobile devices.  What does that mean? A great example is that of my father-in-law who got rid of his old Motorola Startac and exchanged it for an iPhone.  Yes, he got an iPhone, and […]

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Cloud computing for SMBs

Cloud this, Cloud that – the word cloud is clearly an overhyped word and reminds me of the beginning of the hype around hosted models and ASPs (application service providers) in the late 90s and the term SAAS today.  Anyway, as I look at announcement after announcement released about cloud computing platforms, one thing is […]

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More reasons to watch your burn

Despite these tough times, there are still some bullheaded companies who think they can grow their way out of this mess or find the right M&A partner to bail them out.  I can guarantee you that this is a recipe for disaster.  I was on the phone today with the CEO of one our portfolio […]

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