Google has acquired more inventory for its auction-based TV Ads system, inking a deal with Verizon that gives it access to an additional 3.3 million homes.
Under the deal, Google can place spots up for bid that run in local breaks on 50-plus cable networks on Verizon's FiOS service. Verizon has rights to sell that space, but will use Google as a proxy to try to bring in higher prices for some of it.
Google also has been placing inventory up for bid in homes served by DirecTV and Dish Network. Collectively, the two satellite operators and Verizon will give TV Ads the chance to sell space in a combined reach of 35 million homes.
It is unlikely, however, that many advertisers' spots will reach that full footprint. Google's arrangements give it rights to inventory that may be different on Verizon and DirecTV and Dish.
That brings a reach vs. targeting dynamic. On Verizon, a successful bidder's spots may run on one of 50 networks -- perhaps a CNN or TNT -- but that feed would only be in 3.3 million homes.
By contrast, DirecTV offers an opportunity to air ads in more than 18 million homes, but only on 11 lower-rated networks, such as Fox Business and Fuel.
Separately, Google does have deals with some cable networks such as GSN and TV Guide Network, allowing bidders to slot ads into their national feeds, which can reach more than the Verizon-DirecTV-Dish combo. It had a similar national arrangement with NBC Universal for some of its networks, but that has ended.
Under the TV Ads system, bidders can define the audiences they hope to reach based on multiple demographics. A Fox Business or Fuel may have value in offering relevant audiences for, say, a financial firm or snowboard marketer. Such a placement can be cost-effective for an advertiser with a lower budget that has never tried TV, a group Google has worked hard to bring to TV Ads.
Google provides some performance data on how effective the spots were in reaching audiences it collects from set-top boxes. With inventory from satellite operators and now a telco, Google would score a coup by grabbing inventory from cable operators, although they tend to have veteran sales operations and are loath to share.