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Advanced Advertising: Addressable Ready To Grow Beyond 'Crawl' Phase

Advertising targeted to collections of individually addressed homes, rather than by timeslot or program, is in the “crawl” stage now but should grow following a pattern established by online video ads, a technology vendor in the field said.

Satellite-TV providers DirecTV and Dish Network are doing some addressable campaigns on linear broadcasts, and Comcast is doing some inserting ads into on-demand video, BlackArrow president Nick Troiano said during an afternoon panel session at the Advanced Advertising event Tuesday. As those efforts increase, ad networks will emerge to package the inventory and accelerate the sales growth, which is how online digital ads took off, Troiano said.

There are disadvantages to that approach – losing control over valuable assets and selling them as a commodity – and even on the online end of the business the ad networks took 12 years to establish themselves, Troiano said. But he expects to see “significant uplift” on addressable-ad buys in 2014.

He also offered some context for the emergence of IP video streaming of TV shows over readily measurable devices like tablets. Citing Comcast executive Marcien Jenckes, he said 97% of television is viewed on a TV set, and 99% of TV is viewed in the home. And he said technology is far less of a concern than other aspects of the business model. Multichannel providers have to learn how to sell addressable ads, agencies have to understand the benefits and then must sell networks on those benefits.

“Everyone’s testing it, but we're still at the crawl phase for true addressable,” he said. The top two global agencies see promise in addressability, he said, and are experimenting with addressable campaigns for 20-30 top brands.

Matt Van Houten, director of product marketing and ad sales strategy for AT&T AdWorks, said AT&T U-verse’s all-IP platform enables the sale of media-buy schedules using data from actual views on 14 million set-tops in U-verse’s 5.3 homes. “We’re trying to make big data small, make it actionable,” he said during the panel moderated by Multichannel News technology editor Jeff Baumgartner. Through cooperative arrangements with other multichannel video providers, including Cox Communications, the schedule can be applied to reach 45 million homes.

And David Leider, CEO of Gas Station TV, said his network’s selling attribute is gearing ads to locations near where the network is broadcasting ESPN, Bloomberg Television and CNN to drivers filling their tanks. A McDonald’s ad inserted by GSTV will push promotions for restaurants in the area, and display their coordinates on a map, he said.