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Broken TV

The biggest problem I have with traditional television advertising is how absolutely obnoxious and out of touch its gotten in terms of targeting. For most people this is simply and annoyance, but for Gracenote it’s a business opportunity.

The company, which is perhaps best known for identifying music information in third-party services (like Fuzz), is rolling out a new service that aims to customize TV commercials based on each individual’s viewing habits. Essentially, Gracenote will partner with manufacturers of Smart TVs and set-top boxes to provide a “commercial replacement” system, which will basically swap out the predetermined commercials with those chosen by Gracenote.

My guess is that the commercials will behave much like they do on Hulu, with advertising targeted toward my specific demographic. (I rarely see makeup commercials, but I sit through tons of smartphone and tablet video ads.) Gracenote told TechCrunch that revenue split from the commercials is still being determined, and that it’s likely to prove disruptive to the $70 billion TV advertising industry. I’m curious as to how traditional cable and satellite TV operators respond to such technology. The smart move would be to either engineer similar smart-commercial ad tech, or partner with Gracenote directly. But history has shown us that these “disruptive technologies” usually end up in the court room before they have a chance to revamp the industry.

Gracenote plans to show off a demo of the new customized commercial service at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, and have it ready to launch by the end of 2013.

Broken TV image via forest badger/Shutterstock

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