The rub on television advertising has always been the colossal "waste circulation" that you had to buy in order to run a commercial. Sure, you knew that (most likely) a younger, predominantly male audience would be watching certain shows, like Two and a Half Men. And a more female-dominated audience could be counted on for shows like America's Next Top Model. But the ratings system, as it exists, typically counts all eyeballs, and you pay for each of them in buying a commercial.
But that could soon change.
A few companies are working on technology to deliver “addressable” commercials tailored to individual viewers, based on metrics including viewers' age, gender and location. These systems are touted as being "intuitive" in that they will "learn" about the viewers, and advertisers can then deliver their commercials directly to the eyeballs most likely to have an interest in that particular product.
Two of the companies working to roll out this technology are Packet Vision, a UK-based company that is focusing on the IPTV (Internet Protocol Television) platform, and Princeton, New Jersey-based Invidi Technologies, which is focused on cable and satellite delivery. In fact, the cable industry seems to have jumped in with both feet, funding a very secretive "Project Canoe" that will jump-start this initiative.
Either way, this new technology will be a boon to advertisers (far better targeting of their commercial messages), to TV providers (who can charge a premium to advertisers for this targeting) and to viewers, who won't have to sit through commercials that have no relevance to them whatsoever.
I expect these technologies will be the talk of the show at the upcoming National Association of Broadcasters Convention, coming up in Mid-April.
As they say in TV Land, stay tuned for more information!