SMG, Comcast: Addressable System Cuts Ad Skipping

Addressable TV ads reduced commercial skipping by almost a third (32 percent) compared to homes that didn’t receive such targeted spots during a recent test in Baltimore conducted by Publicis Groupe’s Starcom MediaVest Group and Comcast Spotlight, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable.

The trial used technology from Invidi to deliver different ads within the same cable network commercial breaks to different household groupings, based on segmentation data provided by data-management firm Experian.

Five advertisers participated in the trial, two of which were identified: Walmart and Walgreens.

While viewers zapped fewer ads, advertisers gained 65 percent efficiency from the addressable spot buys compared to traditional spot purchases, the trial participants said.

According to Michael Kubin, evp, Invidi, “It was 65 percent more efficient to buy an addressable spot to reach the advertiser’s true audience, even factoring into the calculation a premium for the seller.” And that efficiency, he said, “on a national basis creates billions of dollars in the TV marketplace per year.”

Rex Conklin, senior director of media at Walmart, said the company “remains committed to challenging the marketplace to improve our ability to deliver the right message at the right time and place to our shoppers. Our addressability work with the Comcast and SMG trials today will result in more effective and efficient advertising tomorrow.”

Comcast Spotlight and Starcom executives also said they were pleased with the results.

The Baltimore trial was the second test of such a system conducted by Comcast Spotlight and SMG. A technical trial involving approximately 8,000 households was conducted in Huntsville, Ala., from 2006-08, with addressable technology from OpenTV. The Baltimore test, which included 60,000 households, ran from January-June 2009.

Said Kubin: “In our view, this is a ‘proof of technology’ stage, meaning that it takes our software out of the lab and into the real marketplace with 60,000 households. So now we know that works.”

The next steps, he said, include pitching the technology to additional distributors such as satellite and telecommunications providers, as well as “continuing to add features that make broadcast advertising more targeted, more precise and more effective.”

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