Satellite Operators Aim Targeted Ads


The era of displaying dog-food TV ads only to people
with dogs, a concept years in development, may
finally be upon us.

Dish Network and WPP’s GroupM said they have
delivered household-addressable advertising nationally
in trials with 12 major advertisers — for the first
time in the TV industry — to more than 7 million
of the satellite operator’s DVR subscribers since October

DirecTV, meanwhile, is gearing up to launch national
household-addressable ads in the fourth
quarter with ad agency Starcom Media Vest Group.
While DirecTV is serving locally targeted ads across
25 of the top-rated cable networks, its nationwide
launch is at least a year behind schedule.

Regionally, in the New York metro area, Cablevision
Systems started delivering targeted advertising,
also in partnership with GroupM, as well as technology
vendor Visible World, in late 2010.

Dish and GroupM did not disclose which advertisers
it has worked with. The 12 brands — each of
which has done more than one campaign — represent
categories including children’s products,
consumer packaged goods, snack foods, financial
services and political campaigns, according to
Warren Schlichting, senior vice president of Dish
Media Sales. Dish bills customers only for actual
impressions served, as measured by Rentrak’s settop
data service.

“We’re ready
to grow that relationship
with a
successful product
and proven results,”
he said.

But do enough
marketers really
want to slice and
dice their marketing message in this fashion to
make it a significant source of ad dollars for operators?
They certainly do, according to Michael Bologna,
GroupM’s managing partner and director of
emerging communications, because the approach
lets advertisers more effectively target a desired set
of consumers and reduce unwanted impressions.

The pitch is that it combines the reach and power
of TV advertising with the precision of direct-mail
campaigns. “Household-addressable advertising in
a television universe, long considered a ‘holy grail,’
is finally starting to become a practical reality,”
Bologna said.

In the trials, Dish targeted ads on factors including
the presence of children in a household; gender;
age; and interest in environmental concerns.
The operator can serve ads using anonymized demographic
data from providers including Acxiom,
Epsilon Data Management and Experian, Schlichting

Schlichting, who joined Dish last fall after heading
up Comcast’s advanced-advertising initiatives,
said the next important step will be for the operator
to increase the footprint for targeted ads by working
with others.

“The skepticism [from advertisers] may come
from reach,” he said. “It’s incumbent upon us to improve
the reach of that, which means cooperating
with others who are working to bring this market.”
He declined to comment on whether Dish expects
to specifi cally work with DirecTV or MSOs.

Both Dish and DirecTV are using the addressableadvertising
system developed by New York-based Invidi Technologies. With Invidi’s system, targeted TV
spots — sold in the local inventory available to the
operators on cable networks — are delivered via
satellite to subscribers’ DVRs. The Invidi software
then determines based on various factors which ad
to serve in a given time slot.


Dish and DirecTV are working
with agencies and advertisers
to deliver TV ads based on
household demographic data,
but expanding the total reach
will be a key requirement for
the idea to take off.