Cable Companies Looking at Contextual Ads

by SMD 


Business Week has a story about how cable companies are on the verge of adopting AdSense like contextual commercial serving. Using set-top boxes to track channel surfing habits the companies can determine the demographic data for a viewer:

By analyzing where a viewer channel surfs, Invidi says the system can figure out the age, gender, and probable interests of the viewer.

They can use that information to send niche targeted ads, rather than the shotgun approach that they currently use:

If a 50-year-old father and his 14-year-old daughter each tuned into a Seinfeld rerun on different TV sets, for example, Invidi’s system would send each a different ad during the same commercial break. The father might see a pitch for after-shave lotion while his daughter would see one for acne medicine.

It makes sense to drive the ads off of the viewer rather than the program. Even though consumers may initially scream about privacy, in the long run the model will likely become accepted and even seen as an improvement to the TV viewer’s experience.

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