Addressable TV advertising

Which half of my advertising works?My friend Holly was watching an episode of  “House” on hulu last night, when a Budweiser ad appeared. At the end of the ad, hulu asked Holly if the ad was relevant to her. She said no. The next ad that appear was unsurprisingly different.

My next commercial was for allergy medication and starred a youngish white female.  I wonder if they assume a No on Budweiser makes a viewer female?

This is just the beginning of what’s the latest Holy Grail for Madison Avenue — the ability to interact with viewers in such a way that advertising can better target those who are watching. Hulu now has a little notation attached to Holly’s cookie (or IP address, although that’s a wee bit dicey) advising whoever has access to her data that she doesn’t want or need Budweiser commercials. By opting out of Budweiser, she’s opting in to alternatives.

This dramatically alters the old mass marketing adage, “Half my advertising dollars are wasted; I just don’t know which half.” It’s also why GoogleTV, AppleTV and a whole assortment of others that run viewing through a box (or the set’s internal wiring) — including existing cable or satellite boxes — are the potential revenue prize that the industry thinks they are.

It also helps understand why Senator Herb Kohl of Wisconsin wants Comcast to stay the hell away from hulu, if the deal for them to purchase NBCU is approved. He knows Comcast would rather run everything through their own box, and who’s to blame them.

This is a space to watch in the months ahead. With Sony already cranking out Bravias with GoogleTV wired within, it’s a race to see whose platform will gain dominance.

When all is said and done, the TV advertising you skip will at least be more relevant. And the one-to-many paradigm known as broadcasting will be toast.

UPDATE: Chris Pizzurro has a nice primer on addressable TV for MediaPost.

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