Magazine article Politics Magazine

Is Cable the Next Big Thing? Some Promising Innovations Are on the Horizon

Magazine article Politics Magazine

Is Cable the Next Big Thing? Some Promising Innovations Are on the Horizon

Article excerpt

The family on the corner sees a campaign ad plugging the candidate's support for a children's health care program.

The empty nesters next door are watching the same show on the same channel. But they see an ad for Viagra.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

This scenario probably won't play out in 2010, the next big election year. Nonetheless, cable companies are working toward a future in which it will be possible for campaigns to target television ads home-by-home based on the same demographic data tapped by direct mail companies and microtargeters.

"Being able to get directly to a subdivision and get directly to a home, it changes the whole landscape of political advertising," says Dan Sinagoga, director of political advertising sales for Comcast Spotlight, the advertising sales arm of Philadelphia-based Comcast Corp.

This year, cable companies are refining technology that will provide future campaigns the ability to target voters more discreetly.

The overall effort to develop a more targeted approach, known as addressable advertising, is being led by a company called Canoe Ventures, formed by a consortium of the nation's major cable franchises. Individual franchises have been pursuing innovation as well.

Comcast conducted a limited test of addressable advertising in Huntsville, Ala. The company is conducting a larger test in Baltimore this winter and spring among roughly 100,000 households. The tests involve consumer advertisers, says Chris Ellis, a company spokesman. …

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