Personalized TV Ads Coming, DirecTV Says

After years of promises and false starts, TV commercials targeted at individual homes may finally be ready for prime time.

DirecTV Group is planning the biggest rollout yet of "addressable ads," allowing advertisers to reach close to 10 million homes with commercials tailored to each household. Dog owners, for instance, could see ads for dog food, not kitty litter, while families with children could be shown minivan spots.

The satellite-TV service provider has struck a partnership with Starcom MediaVest, a unit of Publicis Groupe that buys ad time on behalf of heavyweight marketers such as Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola. Starcom has committed to spend $10 million to $20 million on the new service next year.

Targeted TV ads are the latest manifestation of a fast-growing phenomenon: the gathering, repackaging and trading of personal data. Driving this move is the fact that targeted ads command much higher prices than regular ones.

"We are finally at the tipping point," said Laura Desmond, chief executive of Starcom Media Vest. "Advertisers' biggest complaint so far has been that many tests of this service haven't been big enough in terms of scale."

The DirecTV service, she added, is "national and scalable." In total, DirectTV has about 19.1 million subscribers.

DirecTV plans to roll out its targeted ad service in August or September next year.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal.