2. Personalized ads, coming to a TV near you
The hottest new trend in TV tech is "addressable" ads, or TV ads that can be targeted to specific households via user data. By the end of this year, almost every major TV network and provider will have rolled out their version of an addressable ad product, Axios' Sara Fischer writes.
Why it matters: It's a huge departure from the way TV ads have been bought and sold for decades. Struggling networks hope personalized ads will make the TV experience better for users who are ditching TV for ad-free streaming services like Netflix — and they're also drawn by the opportunity of a digital advertising market that isn't already controlled by Google and Facebook.
What's new: Traditionally, TV ads could only be bought and sold by gender and age — not demographics. This means that a cat lover could be served an ad for dog food, or a healthy person could get an ad for medicine. Addressable ads aim to make the messages more relevant.
Driving the news: Several big TV companies announced acquisitions or products this week that they think will make it easier for them to sell more addressable ads.
- NBC Universal says its new streaming service will create a lot of new addressable TV ad inventory.
- Hulu lowered the price of its ad-supported tier to be able to serve more addressable TV ads.
- Viacom acquired a digital ad-supported TV streaming company.
Here's how hot "addressable" is: AT&T says the ability to build an addressable ad product for its DirecTV and DirectTV Now customers was one of the driving factors in its decision to buy Time Warner last year for $85 billion.
How it works: TV networks and providers are using data from set-top boxes combined with data from digital networks to target ads to you that you might like.
- The beauty of these ads is that they tend to cost less because they reach a smaller, more targeted group of people.
- Because of this, smaller businesses can afford to buy national TV ads for the first time, lowering the barrier of entry to TV marketing.
Go deeper: Read Sara's full story.