Your cable box may be watching you


WSJ is reporting that demographic data mining companies are starting to watch viewing patterns and may begin working with cable companies to pinpoint commercials to individuals and assess a commercial’s impact.

Such logic makes sense, but advertisers these days are demanding more precision, and getting the technology to do it. During a two-week ad campaign last month, RE/MAX was able to find out what other TV programs those viewing households were tuned to. Using a new process that taps into data from cable set-top boxes, RE/MAX found that, along with home-improvement shows, those households were also likely watching cable channels such as auto-focused Speed, as well as shows including TNT’s “Without a Trace.” So RE/MAX shifted some of its money to quickly place ads on those shows, hoping to reach consumers interested in real estate.

I’m actually all for this. I’d rather have pinpointed ads than the drivel I have to skip through on TiVo. Interestingly enough, with the rise of targeted advertising on the Internet it’s actually easy to tune out the text links, video, and banner ads — you’re already in the context the ad is trying to emulate so your mind glosses over it.

Fine-Tuning Cable Audiences [WSJ]