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Ads may go `personal' with intelligent set-top boxes

Preethi J.

Bangalore , July 25

How well does your TV know you? Intelligent set-top boxes that will change the way ads look at you are coming soon to your homes. By the end of this decade, next-gen TV will arrive in India, bringing in a slew of changes for the advertising industry with it.

If you are a parent who watches cartoons with your kids, you may be bombarded with diaper ads, while a teenager watching a soccer match may be flashed a zinger on the latest sports shoe.

How? The set-top boxes will sit next to the TV (or PC) and store the list of programmes, movies and channels watched, creating a profile of the viewer, said Mr Prakash Bhalerao, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Verismo Networks.

The US-based company has a set-top box currently marketed in the US and Europe. "Every click of the remote will be logged on the set-top box. This data will be sent to a server that stores the profile of the viewer in a database. This can then be used by advertisers to finetune ads so that they appeal to that particular viewer."

Net, medium of choice

Online is currently the medium of choice, with advertisers gushing about the `transparency' the Internet offers. "The Internet changed everything. Options in the media have boomed," said Ms Shenaz Bapooji, Vice-President and Head, B2B Communication, at Bangalore-based advertising major Ogilvy India.

Podcast advertising and video ads on blogs are successfully reaching their targeted audiences. However, when both the medium (broadband, digital TVs) and the message (content from broadcasters) go digital, advertisers will be able to take advantage of the reach of the telly.

Traditional models used by the ad pros will be trashed, in exchange for demography-specific market information, trends, clear buying patterns, and even spending profiles of consumers.

"The impact on the industry will be definitely felt," agreed Ms Bapooji.

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