04 April 2007

Google challenges TV advertising's black art.

Google's breaking into the world of television advertising sales with a new targetted model.

Launched this week in this US, Google's TV Ads enables TV advertisers to bid for spots to more than 13 million households on US satellite TV network Echostar and only pay for what is watched.

It's a major new foray into the world's more lucrative $170 billion television advertising market, after the company's recent failed attempts to launch it's Ad Sense model into print and radio.

However, at this stage the new ad sale system won't get quite as personal as its online counterpart because of US privacy restrictions.

The system will be targeted more broadly at specific demographic groups, regions and programs on one of EchoStar Dish Network's 125 satellite channels which include Discovery, CNN and MTV.

Google will be able to do a daily analysis of anonymous data collected from Dish network subscribers and only bill advertisers for that segment of an audience that actually watched a commercial for a designated amount of time.

Former NBC executive Mike Steib, who recently joined Google as head of television advertising, said that the group was already “in active discussions” with other networks.

However, Google is also likely to meet with stiff resistance from bigger US cable TV operators like Comcast, Time Warner Cable or Cox Communications, who jealously guard the data their systems generate on customer-viewing habits.

It also must face off against ad measurement competitors like Nielsen Media Research and hot start-ups like Spot Runner.

Either way, DIFFUSION believes that if Google creates the same impact it has had on the world of online advertising effectiveness its also going to have a sudden and very measurable impact on the way TV ads are sold.

More importantly, the black art of television advertising will come under even more scrutiny from advertisers, as they start to demand their agencies provide real-time measurement of active viewers and results from campaigns.

It's yet another signal for the death knell of television advertising as we know it.