AT&T Brings Targeted Advertising To TV Platform

Have you ever noticed that your online activities affect the types of advertising you see when surfing the web and using online services? That's called targeted advertising (or stalking, if you prefer), and AT&T's partnering up with a company called Videology to bring the same type of creepiness to television.

I'm calling it creepy because advertisers sometimes tend to know and share more than they should. This is anecdotal, but I recently typed the world "Mucinex" in an email to colleagues (it was in reference to me being sick) and later that day my Facebook feed was splattered with sponsored ads for Mucinex. Go figure.

Watching TV

Let's give AT&T the benefit of the doubt that it's not going to stalk viewers to that extent. What AT&T is doing is launching what it calls a Video Inventory Platform, or VIP, which is an automated, self-service private marketplace for its data-optimized linear TV ad inventory. It will consist of a web-based UI to make targeting and planning TV advertising simple for advertisers and agencies.

"This programmatic platform, developed with Videology, provides advertisers with an automated way to target and plan campaigns using AT&T AdWorks data-informed premium quality national TV ad inventory on every cable network/daypart and across 26 million households in all 210 DMAs. Targeting is determined using proprietary aggregated and anonymized data and 3rd party sources," AT&T said.

AT&T and AdWorks previously talked about this not long after it acquired DirecTV last year. The example it gave was one of an automaker targeting women who own luxury cars with leases that are getting ready to expire. AdWorks would identify that 3 million out of 12 million DirecTV subscribers fit that criteria, and those 3 million people would be the ones to see an automaker's ad.

Welcome to the new era of watching TV, folks.