This confirms rumors of such a deal we first mentioned at VentureBeat three weeks ago. The deal is significant because it extends Google’s empire to the huge $54 billion television market — and points to a new kind of ad: Since Dish is the nation’s leader in high definition and interactive TV programming, Google will eventually allow advertisers to target specific groups of viewers, based on information about the viewer demographics for each channel.
It follows a pilot test by Google to serve ads to subscribers of Astound Broadband, a cable provider owned by WaveDivision Holdings. From the WSJ:
Under an arrangement to be announced today, Google will sell TV ad spots through an online auction system, with advertisers bidding the amount they are willing to pay per thousand households that view each commercial. Google will send the commercials of the winning bidders to EchoStar, which will then insert them in an unspecified number of daily blocks in the TV programming it delivers to the roughly 13 million households that subscribe to its Dish service.
…Google plans to tell advertisers how many TV set-top boxes were tuned in to each commercial they ran, and charge based only on the number of set-top boxes where the commercial played. It additionally will provide advertisers data about whether users changed the channel during the commercial.
Google is relying on information collected from set-top boxes by operators such as EchoStar, which it says does not permit it to identify any specific subscribers. At least initially, Google is not matching commercials with the content of TV programs or showing ads to specific users based on previous viewing habits or other personal information. The Internet company says concern for user privacy will be a factor in any future efforts to target TV advertising more specifically.