'Addressable' commercials - ads homing-in on defined audience segments - could soon be on offer from the CW Network, a new CBS-Time Warner joint venture [WAMN: 26-Jan-06].

This effectively means the same 30-second slot could be sold twice over, once to advertisers seeking the coveted 25-54 age group, and again to another marketer targeting a 55-plus audience.

This juicy carrot was dangled by CBS chief research officer David Poltrack during CW's day-long presentation Tuesday to the US Television Critics Association.

Most advertisers assign no value to people viewing content out of home (in a bar or airport, for example), said Poltrack; likewise those on the wrong side of the golden 25-54 demographic. CBS wants to exploit these 'less desirable' viewers and addressable advertising could well be the answer.

Although done deals are still a matter of wishful thinking, the technology is up and running. For notion to become fact, agreement between distribution partners is all that stands in the way.

Explained Poltrack: "As more and more viewers watch television through two-way distributions systems, such as digital cable and the internet, we have the ability to identify who is viewing while they are viewing. We can then, in collaboration with distributors, alter what the viewer sees."

Another option made possible by digital technology for dollar-hungry media owners is the introduction of separate premium rate 'ad-free' packages for subscribers who want uninterrupted viewing.

Data sourced from AdAge (USA); additional content by WARC staff