Google Tests TV Commercials Targeting

13 March 2007

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California: Google is looking to replicate the runaway success of its targeted web search advertising in the even more lucrative world of TV. It is reportedly testing a pilot program with cable television provider Astound Broadband based in Concord, California

When Astound's customers watch TV, some of the commercials they see will have been sold to advertisers by Google and will appear in normal ad breaks.

Although targeted advertising has long been trumpeted by cable TV as a principal selling point, Google wants to match demographics with content - and possibly get people to go along with personalizing their TV ads by sharing information.

Earlier this year ceo Eric Schmidt told a conference in Florida that as a potential targeted ad market "we prioritize TV and radio pretty highly".

He said the company was experimenting with traditional TV advertising in the US - a market currently worth around $53 billion (€40.22bn; £27.28bn).

He added: "It is fair to say that whatever we do will be new and different from the way it is currently sold and marketed, using our targeting technology and our tremendous reach to see if we can improve what is already a good and robust business that others are in."

Schmidt told the conference the next generation of digital set-top boxes would be addressable internet devices, which would present a huge opportunity for targeted advertising.

Google has been discussing TV advertising co-ventures with several of the nation's biggest cable, operators, including US number one Comcast, which has 23 million subscribers

The cable giant recognizes that Google is set to be a major player as TV commercials emulate some of the characteristics of online ads, such as viewer-targeting and measured results.

Comments it chief operating officer Steve Burke: "We all believe as advertising moves from one-way to two-way, the winners are the Googles of the world and others that can provide truly two-way addressable advertising."

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff