NBCU Backs Set-Top Box Ad Company Invidi With ‘Small’ Investment


Credit: jenniferrt66

TV ad targeter Invidi Technologies has received a “small” investment from NBC Universal (NYSE: GE), the WSJ reported. The network, which is inching closer to its merger with Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA), made the investment as part of a test of Invidi’s services. The decade-old company has raised well over $90 million the last three years and recently scored further backing from Google (NSDQ: GOOG) and Experian, as well as previous investor WPP Group.

Invidi’s service lets advertisers send targeted TV ads to specific households via set-top boxes based on age, gender, location, income, ethnicity as well as viewers’ other attributes. It then measures the response to those ads.

While NBCU’s soon-to-be partner Comcast is already one of the primary cable backers of another entity seeking to do targeted TV ads, Canoe Ventures, that particular effort has been slow-going as that company turned to less onerous and complex tasks. And since there’s no one company poised to command the set-top box ad space just yet, NBCU and other networks have been looking more closely at these kinds of targeting services.

The network’s interest comes a few weeks after Invidi tested its software with Comcast’s Baltimore systems, where the company told AdAge that targeted ads “proved to be 65 percent more efficient and 32 percent more effective.” The company didn’t appear to specify how it exactly “efficient” and “effective” these ads were.

The involvement of NBCU, and its large series of capital investments over the years, has certainly helped put Invidi get a boost against competitors like Visible World. Although there are still many hurdles to bringing addressable TV to everyday advertising — it’s worth emphasizing that Invidi has been attempting to do this for 10 years — the technology, and media companies, appear to be catching up. The merger between Comcast and NBCU is expected to only accelerate the move toward making set-top box ads more commonplace.

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