Web Ads Target Based On What You Watched On TV

TiVo-Datalogix Partnership Lets Advertisers Target People Online Based on What They've Watched On Television

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Soon, the internet will know what you watched on TV.

In recent weeks, data company Datalogix has launched a new product that aims to let digital ad buyers target ads to people online based on the shows they watch on TV. The product is a result of a partnership with TRA -- a firm that was acquired by TiVO last month -- which has TV viewing data from cable boxes in more than 4 million U.S. homes.

This is how it works: TRA delivers TV viewing data to Datalogix, which then combines it with demographic and purchase-behavior data about those TV households. Datalogix then tries to match up those audiences with what it knows about the people from a pool of 50 million cookies it's amassed online. The company also adds in cookies that represent people who have similar attributes to those who have actually watched a given show or regularly watch a certain genre of show to create the scale needed for reach ad buys.

So there's no guarantee that every ad that an advertiser shows online using this data is being shown to someone who has seen a specific TV ad or show. But Datalogix says the fact that the audiences are being built off a base of TV data from 4 million households makes their audiences much more accurate than others out there using a panel of a few thousand households.

"[O]n a spectrum of options, this is closer to ideal than many others," Kurt Unkel, president of Vivaki's Nerve Center, wrote in an email. "Progress over perfection."

Datalogix SVP Chris Scoggins said that early interest from the buying community has been around complementing TV ad buys with online ads -- whether video or display -- targeted to the same viewers. The company also envisions TV programmers using the data to target buys that promote TV networks or shows.

But is it creepy? Mr. Scoggins said Datalogix has "two Chinese walls" that keep personally-identifiable information from passing through to ad buyers: One between the TV data and Datalogix's offline purchase-behavior database. And then another between that Datalogix database and the pool of cookies.

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