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Advanced Advertising: Data Will Drive Addressable Ad Market

New York -- The recent elections focused attention on the power of addressable advertising to political campaigns, and according to a top DirecTV ad sales executive, traditional advertisers are taking notice of how more specific data can help them buy and create smarter ads.

DirecTV's VP of ad sales Jason Brown, during a keynote conversation with Multichannel News Editor-in-Chief Mark Robichaux at B&C/Multi's Advanced Advertising event Tuesday, predicted a seachange in the way brands will approach the television market in the coming years. While today most advertisers are program-centric -- which he said will continue -- they also are becoming more interested in the data that distributors can provide on their subscribers.

"Data will play a big role in a complementary fashion," Brown said, adding that reports on how President Obama's campaign team targeted their ads to specific networks and demographic groups using data from set-top boxes as well as Nielsen Media Research, has shed more light on addressable ads.

A recent report in the New York Times showed how the Obama campaign used data from set-top boxes, Nielsen and other sources to purchase ads that micro-targeted specific voter segments, getting their message to the right people at the right time.

"Addressable ads allow you to do that down to the household level, zip code, DMA," Brown said. "It makes the buy smarter."

Addressable ads are also finally ganing scale, which should attract more advertisers to the medium. Brown said that just one year ago, about 5 million DirecTV homes had the capability to take addressable advertising. That number has increased to 22 million today.

"We are beyond the testing stage," Brown said.

While advertisers are beginning to see the light on addressable advertising, another long-awaited and sometimes maligned technology -- interactive advertising -- also is beginning to make some headway.

Brown said advertisers that have a story to tell or want to drive awareness of their products through coupons, sweepstakes and other promotions are finding success with interacive platforms.

Just how sucessful?

Case in point: DirecTV was approached by restauranteur Burger King to come up with an interactive campaign to drive awareness of their new Whopper sandwich, which resulted in an interactive channel featuring a spinning Whopper. If viewers watched the revolving hamburger for five minutes or more, they would receive a coupon for a free sandwich.