Across the TV industry there are various efforts going on to bring more targeting into TV advertising. The readers of this blog know about Google’s TV advertising initiative. But SpotRunner and various others (e.g. Project Canoe) have been working to bring “addressable advertising,” the kind of targeting that exists online (demographic, geo, even behavioral), to television. According to the Wall Street Journal, NBC has now adopted Microsoft technology to do something similar:
The technology NBC is deploying will add a layer of demographic information as well as automated ad buying. It analyzes anonymous set-top box data from satellite and cable systems, adds in data obtained from other companies, including consumers’ purchasing habits and locations, and updates daily, says Chet Kanojia, founder of Navic Networks, the TV ad technology company Microsoft acquired last year.
For instance, currently a real-estate company might place an ad on a number of home-improvement shows. The Microsoft technology would show the real-estate marketer other programs that homebuyers or sellers are watching, and sell ad time during those shows, whether they are prime-time dramas or early morning cable news programs.
The Microsoft system is based on its earlier Navic acquisition and is being called Admira Marketplace. In addition to demographic targeting it will offer targeting at the national and local levels.
The key difference between Google’s TV ads system and Microsoft’s appears to be that the latter brings targeting (and presumably analytics) but isn’t an auction. As the article points out, broadcasters have been wary of bringing the auction model to TV for fear of pushing down ad rates and “commoditizing” TV advertising in the way that display ad buying has largely been commoditized by the existence of literally hundreds of online ad networks that all make similar claims and offer similar targeting.
Google’s vision until recently was that it would offer a kind of universal dashboard for media buying across platforms — online and offline. The closure of Radio and Print ads dims that vision with respect to traditional media. Microsoft appears to be pursuing a similar “cross platform” strategy and this is the first “win” in the TV space (that I’m aware of).
Regardless of who owns the platform, however, internet style targeting and ad buying is pushing far and wide into traditional media. Call it the “Googlification” of media.