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DirecTV Close to Rolling Out Targeted TV Commercials

I don’t have a pet and I have no interest in male enhancement products, yet during an average week, I’ll see plenty of commercials for kitty litter, dog food and ExtenZe. DirecTV says that’s going to change and it may happen as soon as the summer of 2011.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, DirectTV has a $10 – $20 million dollar commitment from Starcom MediaVest, a company that buys ad time on behalf of heavyhitters.

Under the new program, the ad buyer would list the characteristics of their target household and DirectTV’s system would search the data pools to find a match. A variety of commercial options would then be loaded into the box and the box itself would decide on the most appropriate commercial for each occasion.

DirecTV says they’ll be gathering data using third-party data providers and one has to wonder why they don’t collect their own data. They also say that they won’t be using viewing habits as a data point, just the usual statistical categories of age, gender, geography, and I would assume, household income and possibly education.

It’s in a customer’s best interest to choose their own commercials and DirectTV says they’ll have the option of opting out. Still, with all of the issues surrounding online targeted ads and privacy issues in general, it’s easy to see where this idea might run aground.

With YouTube working on skippable and “choose your own” ad options, it seems like only a matter of time before we see the end of the traditional TV ad breaks. Maybe, once we get this targeted ad thing worked out, we can work on allowing a viewer to run all the commercials at the start of a program so we can watch the rest of the hour without interruption.

Would you object to targeted ads if it meant giving personal data to your TV signal provider?

  • http://www.simon-dodd.com Simon Dodd

    I was recently at a data storage event (exciting huh!) and I got chatting to someone about advert delivery methods and he was talking about putting people in a queue for their related ad until enough people are there to watch it at which point the advert plays out to everyone in the queue.

    We are already getting highly targeted ads through facebook, I would welcome less ads trying to sell me breast enhancement and weight loss pills in return for certain data. I don’t think it’s a case of giving the data to your tv signal provider as the way tv is being distributed is going to be changing massively over the next few years. Personally I think it will be going mainly online and therefore your browsing history will be able to be used for targeted ads on whatever video you are watching.

    just my little bit more than 2c$

    Thanks

    Simon

  • Jayden

    So this is the beginning of the end of traditional TV ads. This can be interesting. As interesting as Sony TV and other television innovations nowadays.

  • http://www.bradgosse.com Brad Gosse

    It’s about time. I mean come on its almost 2011 and we are still watching un-targeted advertising on television? Personally I don’t consume satellite or cable television anymore. I am 100% downloads. So I rarely see a commercial anymore.

    Having said that, I don’t mind commercials or marketing especially when it’s on target with me.

    I can’t help but wonder if this kick at the can is a bit of too little too late.

  • Liam Bailey

    wow, I hope this can go with the Tizi box where I can watch
    live tv on. Direct TV is really wise when it comes to this.