It's not quite the golden age of addressable advertising just yet. But after numerous false starts, the cable industry is finally making progress in television ad targeting.
Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) told Fierce Cable that the company plans to test delivery of targeted ads during linear television programming in a technical trial before year's end. Using technology from Invidi Technologies Corp. , Comcast will serve up 30-second ads based on customer household demographic information. Once the trial is completed, Comcast intends to go live with the new ad system, starting in the new year. The MSO also plans to extend the ad system beyond cable set-tops to tablets and other IP-enabled video devices in customers' homes. Reports from earlier this year suggest that the company would like to roll out the technology to all its markets by the end of 2014. (See Netflix Sets Sights on 4K/UltraHD Streaming)
Invidi's technology works at the set-top level, relying on audience classifiers determined by demographic data to decide which commercials any given household should see. The company emphasizes the privacy advantages of this approach, noting that no personal user information ever leaves the client device. Invidi holds multiple patents related to the technology, including ones that govern the ad serving process, and the way that commercial delivery is reported back to operators and advertisers. (See Invidi Lands Targeted Ad Patent and Invidi Scores Targeted Ad Patent)
Comcast, meanwhile, is already doing targeted advertising during video-on-demand (VoD) sessions with the help of BlackArrow Inc. The MSO has said it is also starting to serve up targeted ads in Xfinity TV apps and on the Xfinity web portal.
— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading Cable