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?