Google Tries Targeted Local Ads

Google Fiber, the television and internet subscription service operating in a handful of markets, aims to test targeted TV ads in Kansas City. Viewers will receive ads based on their viewing history, and can opt out of the trial.

Said Google:

Fiber TV ads will be digitally delivered in real time and can be matched based on geography, the type of program being shown (eg, sports or news), or viewing history. 

This is a significant development in the local advertising space, said the New York Times:

The move, if it were widely adopted by rival cable companies, could represent a sea change in how television ads are viewed and sold. For starters, it would mean that people in the same city might see different ads while watching the same show. It could also change how ads are sold by giving advertisers more leeway over when ads are shown, to whom and how often — the same kinds of control they have when advertising online.

Of course, Google has done pretty well for itself by delivering targeted ads to web users. But its subscription TV footprint is small. Google Fiber has less than 30,000 subscribers in Kansas City, according to MoffettNathanson. Other Fiber markets are Austin and Provo. Charlotte and Atlanta are among those lined up for the future.

It was a different platform, but Google previously dabbled in local television advertising with its TV Ads auction product. It pulled the plug on that initiative, which drew considerable skepticism from broadcasters, in 2012.

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.