Comcast Spotlight, Starcom expand addressable advertising trial to Baltimore

Fri, 04/04/2008 - 9:27am
Mike Robuck

Comcast Spotlight, the advertising sales arm of Comcast Cable, and media agency Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG) announced today that they will expand their addressable advertising agreement by launching a new trial this summer in Baltimore.

Comcast Spotlight will use technology from Invidi, called Advatar, to deliver addressable ads in the Baltimore area. Comcast Spotlight said that SMG will continue to be the media agency partner for one year and will “play a central role in the Baltimore area trial.”

The first technical trial between the two companies started in December 2006 in Huntsville, Ala. In that trial, Comcast delivered ads across eight cable networks that were addressed to different, anonymous groups of households based on general characteristics that were selected by the participating advertisers.

The Alabama trial was intended to illustrate the effectiveness and efficiency of addressable advertising.

Comcast had been offering zone-based advertising, but the company said this was the industry's first significant effort to deliver targeted ads within the same commercial break to different household groupings based on demographics and advertiser segments, but not personally identifiable information.

“Addressable advertising gets us closer to the power of mass personalization by delivering highly relevant brand messages to engaged consumers, and this is the ideal connection in a world of scarce consumer attention," said Laura Desmond, CEO of the Americas at Starcom.

Major marketers active in the trial, which are all SMG agency clients, include General Motors, Discover Card, Hallmark, Kraft Foods, Mars, Miller Brewing Company and Procter & Gamble.

Comcast’s data services partner, Experian Marketing Services, helped Comcast with segmenting the market and matching the right messages with groupings of households. The targeted ads were delivered with the support of OpenTV’s SpotOn advertising technology, which allows the switching of video ads to aggregated groups of set-top boxes (STBs).

During the trial, SMG received reports and analysis based on aggregated, anonymized viewership information from Comcast and its research partner, TNS Media Research

According to Comcast, the trial revealed that viewers who saw ads directed to households within a particular group were less likely to change channels. Comcast and SMG found that, overall, homes receiving addressable advertising tuned away 38 percent less of the time available.

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