Personalised ads for TV

Sky AdsmartSky have launched AdSmart in the UK this week. The thinking is that instead of receiving generic national adverts, your TV viewing will receive more localised ads based on your postcode. This possibly sounds intrusive when you first hear about matching commercial advertising to your viewing but it’s not tracking a personal profile just serving ads to your locale.

There’s apparently a 35% reduction in channel hopping, indicating it actually helps retain viewers attention spans.

Yet it feels rather like a half way house and a stepping-stone to following the personalised web. If indeed we want more personalised and more relevant adverts then surely it’ll evolve to include viewing habits and a much fuller profile from there. Think about it marrying up to your smartphone and broadband use in years to come, gaining a very rich picture of your digital consumption. Then they could be hyper specific with their offering and advertisers would pay a premium to ‘interrupt’ those attractive and accurate segments.

Instead of passively monitoring us and running that big data through an algorithm, they could even offer the option for us to ‘update our profiles.’ We’d key in sports we like, car brands we favour, films we’ve liked, books read, age/sex of children, where we shop, hobbies, holidays, food, etc. (I constantly wonder why Amazon doesn’t offer this added personalisation right now?) This specificity could actually be more advanced than Google Adwords and become an opportunity for TV to fight back against online ads with its own big data project.

The question is will Britain feel spied on and infiltrated? Are we bothered that we’re getting ever more targeted consumerism fired at us, or will we appreciate relevance over scatter gun?

I also think there’s the TiVo opportunity here, too, as some end users will pay to ignore ads altogether. Sky et al could offer that as an extra to your monthly subscription. Even if TV doesn’t poke one in the eye of Google, we’re about to see more tailored ads on our large screens thanks to AdSmart.

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