British pay-TV solutions provider NDS - a private company jointly owned by Permira Funds and News Corporation - has evolved a new approach to personalized advertising that’s not only more feasible than previous ad targeting efforts, it also allays most of the behavioral targeting concerns of privacy campaigners.
In fact, the technology is so simple that it could easily be rolled out to millions of consumers tomorrow. But there's a 'but'!
A big 'but' that requires cable operators and TV networks alike to rethink a major segment of their business.
NDS has devised a range of ad insertion technologies dubbed NDS Dynamic that include a number of established ad-swapping and personalization features. Moreover, the company has also developed a product called Ad Agent that delivers the whole process straight to consumers' set-top boxes.
Ad Agent essentially converts a cable box or DVR into an ad recommendation engine, monitoring all viewers' interactions with the box. TV companies would simply deliver a number of ads to DVRs, where they would sleep on the hard drive until Ad Agent deems them to be relevant to personal viewing behavior and the programming currently being watched.
Nick Thexton, NDS senior vice-president of R&D, believes that Ad Agent and similar technologies will eventually help to aggregate increasingly fragmented audiences.
“Using knowledge of the schedule, it would now be possible to take audience X and glue it to audience Y, based on viewing data of two mutually exclusive programs,” he opines.