NBC Universal invests in addressable advertising to test future models

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NBC UniversalAdvertisingAge reports that NBC Universal "has made a strategic investment in Invidi Technologies Corp., a company that has developed software that enables marketers to send different commercials to different households via use of a set-top box."

This strategic investment indicates that TV broadcasters are having increased interest in the technology behind addressable advertising, a potential game-changer.

What is addressable advertising?

Mediapost defines:

Addressable commercial systems promise better targeting of ad messages for advertisers. For example, two different commercials from the same advertiser can target two different viewer homes airing in the same program.

Basically it are the types of targeting we know from the online world (demographic, geopgraphic and behavioral) but are infused in the television environment.

Ed Swindler, exec VP-chief operating officer of NBC Universal ad sales, says:

"This is just one in a long record of things we've done with partners and advertisers and third-party technology providers.
With the goal of testing the future models for advertising as the environment becomes a lot more complicated, and to learn how the business model is going to change over time."

At Mediapost, Mike Pilot, president of sales and marketing for NBC Universal states:

"As advertisers face a more complex ad environment, we believe addressability has a high potential to enhance the return on television expenditures and advance TV advertising as an even more compelling marketing vehicle."

This is not the first time NBC Universal has shown interest in testing new types of advertising:

In September of 2008, the company unveiled a partnership with Google that would allow the search-engine giant to sell pieces of advertising inventory on some of NBCU's cable channels.

The theory at the time is that the pact would allow some advertisers to customize their ad plans to reach particular audience segments and also that the agreement might bring new categories of smaller advertisers to TV who might not normally by the medium.

Search Engine Land reported back in 2009 that NBC Universal debuted with addressable advertising with Microsoft's Ad Platform and is called Admira Marketplace.

Timing of investment

The investment in Invidi "comes just weeks ahead of when Comcast Corp. is expected to complete its acquisition of a majority stake in NBCU.

Comcast has in the past expressed an interest in using NBC Universal's programming to reach broader audiences and get them to test out emerging technologies such as video-on-demand and more. Invidi said its technology was recently tested in Comcast's Baltimore systems, where the addressable ads "proved to be 65% more efficient and 32% more effective."

About Invidi

Invidi has already deals for its addressable advertising systems with Dish Network, DirecTV and Verizon.

Mediapost reports on investments in Invidi the following:

Invidi's other investors include Google, media agency Group M, Motorola Ventures and venture-capital firms Menlo Ventures, InterWest and EnerTech. Google's total investment is said to be between $10 million and $15 million, with overall investment from these previous investors said to be around $23 million.


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