Rumor: Google about to sign ad deal with Dish Networks

googlelogo.gifGoogle is about to sign a deal with Dish Network, the nation’s second largest satellite TV company, to deliver ads for Dish’s network, VentureBeat is hearing.

We haven’t been able to confirm the rumor (Google has not yet responded to a request for comment).

In an effort to extend its growing advertising empire to television, Google has already started a pilot project in Concord, Calif. to deliver ads to cable television subscribers, it was revealed in yesterday’s WSJ.

dish.bmpThe latest reports are significant because they suggest Google may be on its way to cracking the huge television market, to deliver a very different kind of ad to peoples’ living rooms. Dish is the nation’s leader in high definition and interactive TV programming. Google’s TV ads, like the ones Google distributes already to Internet sites, would be delivered more efficiently — targeted more closely to the content of the TV programming being watched, and more relevant to the people actually watching it — or at least, that is Google’s intent.

The Mountain View search engine is already making more than $10 billion from online ads. The U.S. television advertising market is about $55 billion, and so is a juicier target than even the Web.

According to the WSJ Saturday, Google has begun a test run serving up TV commercials to cable subscribers of Astound Broadband in Concord, Calif. In this deal, as in the one with Dish, Google is expected to purchase TV spots in advance, and then insert its own advertising — supplied by its advertising clients — so that it looks much like it does today. The difference is, Google would be the powerbroker.

It is unclear, however, how Google would access information about TV households in order to target its ads, without raising significant privacy concerns. But a Dish partnership is notable because of how interactive the Dish experience has become. Users already use keywords to search for programming, choose themes they like and create custom guides — all indicators of personal taste. Dish and Google might be able to obtain permission from users to exploit such information. Google could then work with any number of technology providers to help it automatically insert relevant ads into the programming.