This story was written by MediaGuardian.
By Mark Sweney:
Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) and Publicis Groupe, owner of ad networks including Saatchi & Saatchi, have struck a deal to tap into data from TV set-top boxes to deliver highly targeted TV ads. The deal, which will also create new digital advertising formats, was struck with Publicis Groupe’s combined media operation Vivaki and announced at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. “Everything in this announcement is about digital media,” said Curt Hecht, president of Vivaki Nerve Centre. “It is about more accountability in TV advertising, which is long overdue, using data and technology. On the content side, it will allow companies to better build brands and we are also looking to the future of advertising with new formats.” Vivaki will develop an advertising exchange using Microsoft’s Admira technology, which taps into user data in set-top boxes.
Publicis Groupe clients will be able to buy audience-specific ads based on information gleaned from the viewing habits of US households who watch TV using set-top boxes.
The second part of the deal involves developing new digital ad formats and will build on Publicis Groupe’s existing initiative, called the Pool, an alliance involving Microsoft, CBS (NYSE: CBS), Hulu, Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO), AOL (NYSE: TWX) and Discovery (NSDQ: DISAB) that has created a new pre-roll advertising format expected to launch in January.
After today’s deal, Microsoft will help develop and launch 10 advertising formats in different areas, including user-generated content, mobile phones and social marketing.
The two companies will collaborate on creating digital content for Publicis Groupe clients.
Microsoft will support Publicis-owned PBJS, a production studio, to develop digital content and programming ideas that Publicis Groupe advertisers will be able to sponsor, ad fund or otherwise support.
“Marketing is not an exact science, it is the last great area that needs to be made more efficient,” said Scott Howe, corporate vice president of advertiser and publisher solutions at Microsoft. “The famous quote that advertisers don’t know which 50% of their advertising is being wasted [can still] be true. This collaboration could change the industry.”
The deal is non-exclusive.
— David adds: Microsoft has come out with a flurry of media buyer announcements this week to capitalize on the focused attention of the ad industry at Cannes. A few days ago, Interpublic Group’s Mediabrands unit said it will be working with Microsoft on software that automate certain functions in the media buying and planning cycle. The Vivaki arrangement is essentially an small expansion of the “open source” platform that Publicis Groupe unveiled a year ago this month when it announced a parnership with Microsoft, AOL, Yahoo and Google (NSDQ: GOOG). The agency’s alliance with Microsoft on targeted TV ads also suggests that media buyers are waiting for the slow movement of companies like the MSO-backed Canoe Ventures to produce an actionable addressable TV platform.