Cable's Big Bet On Hyper-Targeting
Time Warner will test new software that sends different ads to different viewers
by David Kiley
Imagine the scene. You're relaxing at home, engrossed in the flickering images on your big-screen TV. Ahhh, nothing like really great programming. Except in this case, it's not a show that's got your attention; it's a 30-second commercial.
Preposterous? Cable operators hope not. With their small, hard-to-measure audiences, cable companies and channels haven't commanded anywhere near the ad revenue of the networks. Now they're starting to fight back. Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWX ) will soon begin testing a system designed by software firm Invidi Technologies Inc. that uses the digital set-top cable box to track what each TV in any house has on. It's expected to go into a household test by yearend, with other cable companies following in 2006. By analyzing where a viewer channel surfs, Invidi says the system can figure out the age, gender, and probable interests of the viewer. Most important, the system then matches TV ads to the consumer based on what might actually interest them....