Google'seffort to organize the world's information is now playing on TV.
The Internet search leader on Tuesday said it had begun selling TV ads across EchoStar Communication's satellite TV Dish Network as part of a technology trial. In a related announcement on Monday, Google also said it was helping Astound Cable sell TV ads in Northern California, an arrangement reported in early March that has been ongoing since last year.
Google's aim in partnering with EchoStar is to automate ad buying, selling, delivery, and metrics across the 13.1 million-subscriber Dish Network. Intel and E-Trade are said to be among the participating advertisers.
"Our partnership with EchoStar is important for us as we begin to offer a TV advertising platform broadly," said Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, in a statement. "We think we can add value to this important medium by delivering more relevant ads to viewers, providing better accountability for advertisers, and better monetize inventory for TV operators and programmers."
Google is not alone in its effort woo televisions advertisers with the efficiencies of modern technology. eBay is reportedly working on its own system to sell TV ad time nationally. A startup called SpotRunner currently offers a sell-service media planning and buying system for TV. Microsoft and Yahoo probably are not far behind.
Markers participating in the EchoStar trial will be able to bid competitively on television ad slots using Google's AdWords system. "With Google TV ads, the entire process is automated -- from planning the campaign to uploading and serving the ad to reporting on its effectiveness," Google explains on its Web site. "Like our AdWords advertising program, Google TV ads are bought using an auction model and through a single online interface that already is familiar to agencies and advertisers. Advertisers can target by demographic, daypart [time of day], and channel, and pay only for actual impressions delivered. Pricing is on a CPM [cost per thousand impressions] basis."
The advantage for advertisers will be the timely feedback on TV ad performance, thanks to the data gathered by the Dish Network's satellite set-top boxes. Marketers will thus have a better sense of whether their ads are being watched or tuned out.
The availability of TV ad performance metrics represents a relatively new phenomenon, one that companies beyond Google are eager to exploit.
Traditionally, TV ad sellers have priced ads based on whether the accompanying show -- rather than the ad itself -- is being watched. If it turns out that far fewer TV viewers are watching ads than the shows they actually tuned in for, ad sellers may not necessarily welcome the revenue implications of reality.