Addressable TV Beams Down to Earth


The era of targeting individual voters with TV ads just got closer. Satellite TV providers Dish Network and DirecTV have combined with Republican and Democratic data firms to open the doors for campaigns to send ads to particular households based on voter data.

Dish and DirecTV had previously joined their audiences via their D2 initiative, which has been mining TV set-top box data to target ads at a household level for consumer advertisers. The new arrangement extends this capability to the political world with the crucial addition of voter files and data modeling provided by i360 (for Republicans) and Clarity Campaigns/TargetSmart Communications (for Democrats).

The result? Media buyers can use D2 to hit different households with different ads, even if the viewer lives next door. Typical applications include sending GOTV rather than persuasion ads to distinct audiences, or avoiding spending money on “lost cause” voters hostile to the campaign.

We’ve seen experiments with addressable TV ads by terrestrial cable providers before, but D2 will reach some 20 million households at one swoop, including rural voters difficult to reach through other contact channels such as canvassing. Look for individually addressable TV to be a big factor in 2016 and beyond. Once campaigns get a taste, they’ll want more.

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