Samsung Becomes Latest Smart TV Maker to Target Ads to the Home Screen

Who Controls TV Advertising? In More Cases, Not TV Networks

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In the future, more TV advertising may come from the people who make the appliance, rather than those who transmit the shows.

In the most recent case, Samsung Electronics announced this morning from the Consumer Electronics Show that it would allow for the deliver of ads to the "home screen" interface of its "smart" TV sets -- and some of that may be deployed in 3-D.

In November, LG Electronics said that marketers could place ads that might be viewed whenever someone looked at its smart-TV's home screen or app store.

The TV manufacturers are gearing up for a boob-tube battle. Giant media conglomerates like Time Warner , News Corp. and CBS continue to control the advertising that runs on popular shows such as "Gossip Girl," "House" and "NCIS." But they have no way to take over the ads that will crop up on on-screen perches as televisions continue to evolve.

New web-enabled smart-TVs have home screens, which allow users to calibrate their Netflix subscription, download apps or tweak the way the screen is lighted. And each screen no doubt has room for advertising.

This isn't necessarily a new model. For years, TiVo has let advertisers access its various screens. And cable providers get money from advertisers by giving them space on lower-screen "nav bars" that pop up whenever a couch potato changes the channel.

No one expects these ideas to generate the same amount of ad revenue per execution as an ad on the Super Bowl, "American Idol" or even a documentary on MSNBC on Saturday afternoon. Even so, as TVs adopt characteristics that transform them into something more akin to a laptop or tablet, there will be more room for those who control our viewing "gateway" -- the overlays and home screens that get us from powering up our set to a DVR'd episode of "Boardwalk Empire" or a streaming movie off Netflix.

It's sometimes nice to control the screen or access to it rather than the programming.

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