Comcast Pulls Trigger on Addressable Ads Nationwide

After kicking the concept around for more than six years, Comcast has finally decided to take addressable TV advertising to all of its markets through a deal with technology firm Invidi Technologies.

Comcast is aiming to deploy the Invidi system across its U.S. footprint by the end of 2014, according to a source familiar with the multistage project. Such systems let pay TV providers deliver separate spots on linear networks to individual households based on geographic and demographic data — enabling them to show, say, diaper or baby-formula ads only to homes with young families.

At Multichannel News/B&C’s Advanced Advertising event last November, Comcast Spotlight group vice president Kevin Smith said the cable operator initially plans to use adtargeting to market its own products. For example, subscribers who already have cable, phone and Internet could stop seeing triple-play ads and instead see promos for Comcast’s home-security offering, he said.

“We buy into this — it is going to happen,” Smith said at the conference.

Invidi already has deals for its addressable-ad system with DirecTV, Dish Network and Verizon FiOS. Separately, Cablevision Systems is using the addressable-ad system of New York-based Visible World.

Invidi executive vice president Michael Kubin, speaking at the 4A’s Annual Conference in New Orleans last week, announced that Invidi had reached a deal with Comcast, as reported by MediaPost.

Comcast’s rollout will expand the number of U.S. homes enabled for addressable advertising to 60 million, Kubin said. Comcast executive director of corporate communications Peter Dobrow confirmed that the MSO is planning to deploy the Invidi system but declined to provide additional details. Invidi declined to comment.

Comcast has tested addressable-advertising technology in two trials: a six-month Baltimore market test from 2008 into early 2009 that involved 60,000 homes, and an 8,000-home technical trial in Huntsville, Ala., from 2006 to 2008.

Meanwhile, Comcast also has deployed BlackArrow’s dynamic ad-insertion for video on demand across in all regions. The operator has certified more than 60 networks for DAI on VOD, including several from NBCUniversal and FearNet.