Google TV Ads: The Uphill Struggle To Court Cable Providers, Marketers Continues

imageGoogle TV Ads, which exited out of beta earlier this summer, hasn’t moved much from where it started. For the past year, Google (NSDQ: GOOG) has sought to offer targeted ads through cable set-top boxes the way it has served ads online. Adweek checks in and finds Google TV Ads still working with only one pay TV provider, EchoStar (NSDQ: DISH) and a much smaller, local California cable company. That only gives Google access to the satellite TV company’s 14 million households out of a roughly 65 million basic cable subscribers, according to figures from the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.

An untapped market, but not for long: Despite the limitations and hurdles facing Google TV Ads, that doesn’t mean it might not make money soon. Instead of just aiming at the finite group of large, traditional cable and broadcast advertisers, Google is going for the same small marketers that use it on the web. Most of those potential advertisers have never run a TV spot and Google feels that it has an untapped market all to itself. Google also expects to excite advertisers by letting them know once and for all which viewers are tuning off their ads and which one might be receptive (though it still won’t be able to tell which of those tend to get up and go to the fridge when a commercial break occurs). Still, as Google tries to gear up its offerings and attract advertisers and other networks — the company says it will announce one large, unspecified deal in the next few weeks — others, like online custom ad creator Spot Runner is hoping to tap small businesses interested in trying cable TV advertising for the first time as well. Another challenge could also come from Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), which bought TV ad placement firm Navic Networks in June.