Google Brings Web Ad Platform to TV

Google, confirming reports it had been testing television ad sales, is announcing today it will expand its efforts nationwide to provide EchoStar’s DISH Network with an “automated system for buying, selling, delivering and measuring television ads.”

Agencies can upload ads to Google’s system, and then bid auction-style on where the ads will be placed, with different networks, time windows, regions and other categories as options. Google then reports back an aggregate number of interactions and any information about ads being skipped. However, it does not measure or target households or individuals, said Keval Desai, Google’s director of product management for TV ads, in an interview on Monday.

Showing that even Google isn’t immune to the current tech-industry standard of comparing whatever it is you’re doing to the inception of Google, Desai said, “TV is becoming like the web. It’s like the content explosion on the web in late ’90s, when an advertiser couldn’t get an audience on one site in one shot.” Google will change this, he said by measuring and tracking the fragmented television audience. Don’t worry, he also name-dropped “the long tail.”

The U.S.-only program is currently open to anyone who asks to be a part of it, and will be open to the public “fairly soon,” according to Desai. Smaller advertisers who do not already have ads of their own will be able to participate in a marketplace to meet with producers.

Desai said this “matchmaking service” will be different than something like Spot Runner because Google will not be involved in the creation of an ad. He added that advertisers will have access to any time of day across all of EchoStar’s 125 networks, not just remnant inventory.

Desai said the Google TV ads platform does not extend to placement of ads on television programs shown on the web, but “that’s the intent” for the future.