Under the program, which is testing what is referred to as "addressable advertising," marketers can buy 30-second blocks during programming, then run different creative in different homes simultaneously, said Marc Favaro, vice president for national advertising sales for AT&T Broadband.
Reaching moms or teens
For example, PepsiCo. could run ads for Mountain Dew in homes with teenagers, while ads for Diet Pepsi could run in homes with 30-something women and Tropicana spots could be shown in households with young children.
Besides research-based demographic targeting, ads can be geographically targeted by ZIP codes or other boundaries.
The test is scheduled to run for 26 consecutive weeks this fall in Aurora, Colo., and will be deployed in homes with digital set-top cable boxes.
The program could be expanded if it is deemed a technological success and if consumers are satisfied.
"It all will be determined by what the customers think," Mr. Favaro said.
For the Denver-area test, Mr. Favaro said AT&T is in talks with a cadre of packaged goods companies to serve as charter advertisers and with four cable networks to allow the switchable ad slots to run during their programming.
AT&T Broadband serves some 16 million U.S. households in markets such as Boston, Los Angeles and Miami.