TV Advertisers Borrow a Page From the Web, Use New Technology to Zero In on Target Viewers

Mar 7, 2011  •  Post A Comment

Tech firms and data-gathering services are joining forces with cable and satellite TV operators to step up efforts to match specific types of viewers with specific types of advertising, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The approach borrows a strategy widely seen on the Internet. It is being employed aggressively, the story says, including in some cases obtaining prescription drug records from insurers.

The latest technology is being brought into use with the goal of showing highly targeted ads to households.

“One of the most advanced companies, Cablevision Systems Corp., has rolled out a system that can show entirely different commercials, in real time, to different households tuned to the same program.” the story reports. “It can deliver targeted ads to all the company’s 3 million subscribers concentrated in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. In an early test of Cablevision’s technology, the U.S. Army used it to target four different recruitment ads to different categories of viewers.”

The story notes that the new push to monitor U.S. viewers’ habits is in part fueled by fear.

“The TV industry is moving quickly lest it lose ground to Internet advertising companies, which have found they can charge a premium for online ads that target individual people based on their specific interests,” the story says.

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