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Jan 13, 2010
Anand Srinivasan

Xerox Brings Behavioral Targeting To Television Advertising

Xerox, the leader in document management solutions has filed an intriguing patent recently. Titled “APPARATUS AND METHOD FOR EMBEDDING COMMERCIALS”, the invention talks of a technology that will alter audio/video of a TV program in order to suit the tastes of the television viewer.

Here are some excerpts from the patent which will be of interest

“As shown in FIG. 4, there is a display 400 which may be displayed at an end user’s home and a display 410 which may be displayed at another end user’s home. The two end users may be next door neighbors, live on different streets, in different cities, different states, or countries. Both display 400 and display 410 depict the same television program. However, the broadcasted program is altered so that it is customized for the individual user. For instance, the end user watching display 400 may be into sports. Therefore, the audio data would be altered so that when the character says the name of the store, the character would say Modell’s.RTM.. In addition the video of the broadcasted program would be replaced so the sign 402 on the storefront shows Modell’s.RTM. and lips 401 of the character would also be altered so that it seems as if he/she is saying Modell’s.RTM.. On the other hand, the end user watching display 410 may be into clothing. Therefore, the audio data would be altered so that when the character says the name of the store, the character would say Macys.RTM.. In addition the video of the broadcasted program would be replaced so the sign 412 on the storefront shows Macys.RTM. and lips 411 of the character would also be altered so that it seems as if he/she is saying Macys.RTM..”

Significant Invention

As the inventors claim, ROI of television advertising has been falling of late because more and more people are choosing not to view advertisements aired during commercial breaks. Also, product placements within the program are not relevant to all the audience.

With such an invention, ads may be personalized to suit individual tastes so that the advertisers get the maximum benefit. Could this also mean the end of commercial breaks?

Why It Would Ruin The System

This is no doubt a significant invention. But this would change the landscape of television programming forever. At present, TV content monetization is so fairly focused on content. The program with better content gets more eyeballs and hence more revenues.

But such an invention could alter content in such a way that producers needlessly get their characters speak of brand names just for the sake of monetization. The quality of programming could suffer.

As internet marketers would know, this could be the television version of the “Made for Adsense” websites – those that are built for the sole sake of displaying Google ads.

What do you think?

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