This television provider uses customer data to deliver addressable ads to specific households

How do advertisers keep television viewers from skipping through the commercials? By delivering to each household the type of ads that interest them. DirecTV has come up with a way to collect and analyze household information from internal and external sources to deliver addressable ads to its subscribers.

"People generally don't like advertising -- but at least if it's something applicable to them, they like it a little bit more," says Robert Gage, senior director of business intelligence. Advertisers like that, too, because they're getting more bang for their advertising dollar, he adds.

The project combines proprietary data about DirecTV subscribers, such as a customer's email address, subscription history and programming preferences, with additional demographic data from a trusted third party such as Experian. The additional data might include the number of children in the household or whether the customer is in the market for a new car. DirecTV analyzes the data and helps potential advertisers identify how many households an ad could reach in a focused manner.

When an ad is ordered, data is sent downstream to engineering systems that place targeted ads on certain homes' set-top boxes. The same data goes to DirecTV's video measurement vendor, which analyzes how many homes are viewing the ads.

The addressable ads project launched in late 2012, and in its first year the initiative exceeded its revenue goal by 50%. DirecTV says its addressable ads business is now growing exponentially.

"It has definitely helped advertisers think differently about purchasing television ads," says James Min, business intelligence solutions analyst. "We're working with the majority of top advertisers in the U.S., and most have come back to run additional campaigns."

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