DirecTV Launching Targeted Ads


It seems like targeted television ads have been on the horizon for years never to actually materialize, but now DirecTV is set to roll them out in a big way. The Wall Street Journal reports that the satellite television provider, who has been working on this rollout for three years, has partnered with Starcom MediaVest Group, an agency network that purchases ad time for companies like Coca Cola and Procter & Gamble. Starcom has pledged to spend between ten and twenty million dollars on DirecTV targeted ads next year with the service expected to begin by August or September.

Targeted ads will mean that DirecTV subscribers watching the same show at the same time would see different commercials: a dog owner could see a dog food ad while a parent of an infant might get a diaper pitch. To make this work, an advertiser would specify to DirecTV what type of household it wants an ad to be shown in and DirecTV will use third-party data providers to find subscriber households to match that profile.

DirecTV will load data about subscribers onto their set-top boxes and each box, using technology from Invidi Technologies, will sift through the data and “vote” on the most appropriate ad from a collection that has already been loaded onto the box’s DVR. The data DirecTV plans to use includes income, gender, and recent purchases, but viewing habits will not be a factor. Experian is one of the third-party data providers to be used, but DirecTV did not name any others.

DirecTV gets two minutes of ad time per hour on 105 channels that it carries and Bob Riordan, DirecTV’s senior vice president of ad sales, said up to 25% of its ad inventory will be sold as targeted. Because DirecTV’s partnership with Starcom isn’t exclusive, other media-buying firms will be able to purchase targeted ads.

We see targeted ads online already, but what do you think about them on television? Do you have any privacy concerns or does the idea of seeing fewer commercials irrelevant to you trump them?