Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Austrian company brings behavioral targeting to TV

The is reporting that an Austrian company named F5 is developing technology that will allow television advertisers to better reach viewers with more specific behavioral targeting. According to the article, "A new televisual technology called EDIBS (embedded digital broadcast services) can now enable TV broadcasters to satisfy the individual expectations of viewers while also rewarding them for their loyalty to the station. The new system from Austrian company F5 gives advertisers the option to individually communicate messages to targeted groups of viewers."

The three month trial supposedly impressed householders, and it's no suprise that F5 wants to move forward with an international push. Digital television has been a problem for television advertisers, since cable operators have taken to bundling the service with TiVo-style digital video recorders (DVRs). As the service gains traction, more and more homes have the ability to fast forward through ads if they so chose, which presents something of a dilemma since advertisers can't be guaranteed that their spots are being viewed as much as they would like them to be.

Television still remains a hugely influential media platform, and advancements such as this, which adopt the basic premise behind OOH advertising (namely place-specificity), will help TV to compete as advertisers continue to experiment with ever more targeted forms of media. Thus if this kind of technology expands (and the smart bet is that it will), advertisers will be able to reach specific viewers both out in the world and in their living rooms using the same highly specialized and extremely effective techniques. And television viewers, the theory goes, will be more satisfied because they will be watching ads that cater specifically to their current wants and needs.

While viewers will no longer be forced to sit through an ad for dentures while watching Friends, advertisers will need to carefully consider how close-to-home they'll wish to hit, and what they'll be offering viewers in return for such unprecedented access into their homes. It all goes back to the Pavlov-esque theory that as ads become more target-specific (maybe even bordering on intrusive), more and better rewards must be given to the viewer for being exposed to them, whether in the form of give-aways or just valuable information.

Tags: digital signage, out-of-home advertising, advertising

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