New Software App Targets TV Ads To PVR Users
Jovio, a Pittsburgh, PA software firm, is planning to market Viewer Profiling and Targeting, a software program that will deliver targeted TV commercials to viewers. The company will partner with cable operators who will give away personal video recorders to customers who will be profiled as they use the PVRs. They will receive targeted commercials in the programs they record on their PVRs.
Point of the story? If the new software rolls out successfully, it will accomplish a few major things.
Mickey Marks, president/CEO of Creative Media/New York, a division of Omnicom that has worked with Jovio on the launch, says, "It will allow us to get a higher return on our clients' advertising investment."
Richard Roberts, Jovio's VP of sales and marketing, says the software's viewer profiling function will "provide useful information that will address the current and future requirements of the media buying industry." Meanwhile, the cable industry will benefit through the PVR giveaway. "Cable operators get deployment of the boxes much faster, which represents huge revenue for them because they can upsell premium services with the box, such as video on demand and "t-commerce," which is the sale of products directly from TV, Roberts says. T-commerce commercials generate click-throughs to the sponsor's site and the click through rate will increase with targeted commercials, Roberts says.
It's a lot to expect from a software program, but it's the wave of the future presumably. Roberts hired a former Lycos engineer and other top techies to develop the software, which will be tested in 4Q 2001 and 1Q 2002. The test will take place in 500 homes in an unnamed market with an unnamed cable MSO.
Part of the software's novelty is its targeting capability. Roberts mentioned an original process based on mathematical formulas and algorithms, but then said, "the targeting works based on the programs they select. Within a seven to 10 day window, we know who the person is by age, demographics and psychographics and what product categories they like down to specific brand preferences. Once we create viewer profiles, we can deliver targeted ads that address their needs."
The profiles lead to buy specification reports that can be shared with media buyers. "We take the data and put it in affinity groups, which is what the advertisers are asking for," he says. "We tell the media planners, here are the people that fit that demo. We give them the number of people we can reach demographically and geographically. They tell us how many commercials they want to run and we tell them how many we can deliver to their audience on a weekly or flight basis."
The problem with targeting commercials to PVR users is that PVRs have the capability of blocking or skipping through commercials. But Roberts has an answer for that, too. "We have a fast forward technology that can insert a camera card static billboard which shows the product or a picture within a picture so that a shorter version of the commercial appears during the fast forward." He also says, "We report what consumers do in terms of fast forward, which gives advertisers real time verification of how the ads have been delivered."
Jovio will use Nielsen Media Service to verify its profiling. "They'll determine the accuracy of the profiling that we can report to agencies and advertisers," Roberts says. "We'll deliver commercials to recipients and Nielsen will say to what extent we reached them and report back."
Jovio is a two-year-old company and Viewer Profiling and Targeting is its first product. "With a successful test, we roll it out early next year," Roberts says. He says the software will "totally change the way PVR boxes get into the market and advertisers advertise and communicate with viewers. We can eliminate all the waste associated with network or spot TV buys."
- Ken Liebeskind may be reached at email@example.com