Addressable Advertising: Direct Mail for Television Advertising

November 22nd, 2010 by Michael Kubin

Television advertising has been planned, bought, and sold in exactly the same way since commercial television started in 1947. That’s 63 years of no change.

But no change is about to change in a big way.

Addressable advertising, a technology that has been in development for over a decade, will allow buyers to reach–and pay for–only the target audience they’re looking for. That means lipstick ads to women, pick up truck spots for men, dog food ads to dog owners, diaper ads to households with babies. A radical difference from “spray and pray” television advertising that wastes huge numbers of impressions on viewers that have no interest in the product shown them.

Invidi Technologies, an addressable advertising company financed by (among others) WPP, Google, Motorola, Echostar, Experian, and NBC, has developed software that resides in the digital set-top box and figures out the right spot to run for whoever is watching.

Think of it as direct mail for television advertising.

Addressable advertising is available in a limited way today on Verizon FiOS and will soon roll out on satellite (Dish Network and DirecTV).

Marketers and their agencies hope it will extend to cable soon, ultimately forming a national digital network that will allow advertisers to reach their target audience regardless of what program they’re watching or what means of distribution they’re watching it on.

After 63 years, that’s progress.


Michael Kubin is Vice Chair of the Columbia Journalism School Alumni Board. His articles have been published in the New York Observer and The New Yorker. To learn more about Michael, click here.

Tags: addressable advertising, advertising, commercial television, Google, Invidi Technologies, marketing tools, Motorola, NBC, target audience, technology, television, wpp

About Michael Kubin

Michael is a founder and Managing Director at Ionic Media. A 30-year veteran of the media industry, Michael has managed a significant string of successful entrepreneurial ventures. At his first media buying company, Corinthian Media Buying, Michael was integral in the creation and growth of its DR subsidiary, Corinthian Direct, which grew to over $100-million in billings after just three years. After Corinthian, Kubin became president of Club Med Inc., the travel company’s US subsidiary. With Club Med as his first client, Michael co-founded Media Incorporated, which along with its DR subsidiary, Media Direct Partners, was sold to IPG (The Interpublic Group) in 1996. Michael then went on to co-found Evaliant Media Resources, a Web-based advertising tracking firm, which was sold to CMR (Taylor Nelson Sofres) in 2002. A member of several corporate boards of directors, Michael has a BS in operations research from Cornell, an MBA from Harvard Business School and a Masters in Journalism from Columbia. His articles have been published in the New York Observer and The New Yorker.