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Comcast to Widen World of Addressable Ads

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

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

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 on Wednesday, announced that his company 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.

A Comcast rep confirmed that the MSO is planning to deploy the Invidi system but declined to provide additional details. Invidi also declined to comment.

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

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

"We buy into this -- it is going to happen," Smith said.