After a few delays coming out of beta, Google TV Ads plans to end its closed trial in the next few weeks by opening up the cable TV media buying auction to anyone with a broadband connection, Multichannel News reports. The program aims to do for cable network buys what Google (NSDQ: GOOG) has done for online advertising. So far, the Google TV Ads trial has been limited to a group of invited advertisers and covers 94 networks, including A&E Network, Bravo, CNBC, CNN, Discovery, ESPN (NYSE: DIS), Fox News Channel and MTV aimed at any of satellite provider Dish Network customers' 14 million set-top boxes.
So far, cable operators have appeared cool to Google's system. But Google believes that initiatives like Project Canoe, which Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA) formed to sell customized, targeted ads across the major cable operators' networks, would ultimately agree to sell ads through its system. Keval Desai, Google TV Ads product-management director, reasons that cable operators will be more open to its TV Ads project because of the relationships Google claims to have struck with marketers. Secondly, Project Canoe will simply make it easier for cable companies to do these kind of third-party deals.
Some of the marketers who have tried out Google TV Ads include computer-maker Lenovo and Priceline.com companies, as well as smaller spenders like online perfume seller FragranceNet. Google remains tight-lipped about the number of participating advertisers or how many ads Google has placed on Dish, saying its "millions a day." Lastly, Desai can't be pinned down to offer a specific date for the full launch of TV Ads, saying "it's a moving target."
By David Kaplan