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Advanced Ads On Tap

1/18/2008 7:00 PM Eastern

Los Angeles — Google wants to take the ad-targeting capability that powers Internet ads and marry it with the “emotion” provided by television advertising, said Vincent Dureau, the search company’s head of TV technology.

“If we can combine the addressability of direct advertising with the accountability of the Internet, with the emotion of television — that’s when we see television ad spend growing again,” he said.

Dureau, former chief technology officer of interactive TV software firm OpenTV, spoke on a panel, “Advanced Advertising Technology: Driving the Next Growth Engine,” here at the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers’ Conference on Emerging Technologies.

But of course, the opportunity to exploit interactive and targeted TV ads is not Google’s alone to reap.

“I suspect, in the end, there will be continued collaboration with Google... but there will also be a whole lot of innovation in the cable industry itself,” said John Morrow, vice president of strategy and business development for Scientific Atlanta.

Morrow showed an analysis of a hypothetical cable operator, in which an increase in ad revenue from $400 million to $800 million per year translated into a doubling of its market capitalization, from $11.5 billion to $22.8 billion.

“Advertising is a very profitable business, so all those incremental revenues would essentially fall to the bottom line,” he said. “This is not 2020, this is 2008. This is the opportunity the cable industry has today.”

Arthur Orduña, senior vice president of policy and product for Advance/Newhouse Communications, who moderated the panel, said interactive and addressable advertising is “not a maybe — it’s a 'have to have it.’“

He said Advance/Newhouse systems are, for example, already selling interactive overlay ads to let viewers request more information from a sponsor. “It is, and can and will be, an extremely effective element to sell for our media sales folks.”

However, Orduña added, “It’s double-edged, because it can confirm that no one cares about a particular advertiser.”

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