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Technology & Innovation

Television Commercials Chosen Just For You

Gracenote, the company best known for cataloguing music data, is about to roll out a service that will enable displaying of commercials based on the viewer’s age, gender, income, and other publicly available information.

What’s the Latest Development?

Gracenote, a company best known for its work with music cataloging, is about to release a new service that replaces standard television commercials — those that are aired to all viewers regardless of whether they would actually be interested in the products being offered — with commercials targeted to individual viewers based on publicly available demographic information such as age, gender, and income. A set-top box monitors viewing habits, integrates them with ad decisioning software that gathers personal data, and queries an ad delivery engine to overlay a more relevant commercial.

What’s the Big Idea?

Gracenote’s service has far-reaching implications for the media industry, says company president Stephen White: “It’s highly, highly disruptive to a $70 billion [television advertising] business…[T]he good news is that broadcasters, TV manufacturers, and tech providers are all working very closely together to find the best way to maximize the revenue opportunities.” Alternatively, the technology could allow viewers to take a more active role in what commercials they see or if they see them at all. White adds: “I could pay $20 to see no ads and see photos of my kids in those ad spots.” Gracenote will demonstrate the service at this January’s International Consumer Electronics Show.

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