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Another new way to find and target voters

Wednesday, Aug 20, 2014

* The wave of the future

DirecTV and Dish are using digital technology to match voter registration information with subscriber homes, and are now offering political campaigns the ability to send targeted ads to select households. For example, politically conservative satellite customers might see a TV commercial for a Republican candidate, while their liberal neighbor gets an ad for a Democrat. […]

DirecTV and Dish this year formed a partnership called D2 Media Sales to sell targeted spots to candidates and ballot measure organizers. The partnership represents the nation’s “largest household addressable TV advertising platform,” the companies said, with more than 20 million homes.

Working with a handful of consulting firms, the two satellite giants now have access to databases containing voter information on 190 million people. That trove of data enables them to create a new sales pitch: transmit ads into the homes of partisan voters, frequent voters and swing voters, in specific states.

D2 Media Sales struck a partnership in June with the Arlington, Va., political firm i360, which focuses on targeting Republican and conservative voters. Then, last week, D2 entered into a similar arrangement with Clarity Campaign Labs and TargetSmart Communications, left-leaning data firms that help campaigns mine Democratic National Committee voter databases. […]

“Instead of hitting everybody, including the people who won’t vote, or won’t vote the way we’d like them to, we focus the ads and the dollars on just the voters that candidates want to persuade,” Palmer said. […]

The DirecTV and Dish initiative is offering its service on statewide levels, but in future years could offer politicians more segmented regions, such as individual counties or congressional districts.

They need to narrow those regions down a lot more, but this could be a game-changer, particularly if cable finds a way to do it as well.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


28 Comments
  1. - Nearly Normal - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 3:46 pm:

    Big Brother IS watching and he wants your vote!


  2. - Tom B. - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 3:50 pm:

    Wow, targeting people down to the household. You mean just like direct mail.

    :)

    This isn’t actually quite that big a deal. Digital banners and pre-roll already can do this now and were doing it in 2012. It’s important, but it’s achievable already.


  3. - The Captain - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 3:53 pm:

    Wow freaking WOW.


  4. - Carl Nyberg - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 3:58 pm:

    People will be able to get out of jury duty and political ads by not registering to vote?


  5. - The Captain - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 3:59 pm:

    Even with advances in technology your segmenting will still be limited by available man hours and production costs, but the efficiency is about to go way up.

    Think about it this way, even if you had no voter profile info to draw from if this improvement allows you to be able to just split the St. Louis media market and only buy the part in Illinois things start getting a lot cheaper. Same for the Quad Cities and the Paducah market. Now add in what you can do with message segmenting and TV buying gets a lot better.


  6. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 4:02 pm:

    First impression: wow

    Second: rauner is already targeting me via (amusing) direct mail.

    Third: 90% of our household viewing, at least til the bears come along, is recorded, so targeting me by satellite is still a waste. I am a high information voter, so to speak. Rauners schtick doesnt stick.


  7. - dupage dan - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 4:04 pm:

    I have one of those little thingies that can be used to change the channel on my TV. I haven’t the remotest desire to watch commercials in general, let alone political campaign commercials. The only place I may watch them is at capfax and I do so strictly for comic relief.


  8. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 4:08 pm:

    how`s this going to work,i vote gop,the spouse votes dem we just cancel each others vote can`t wait to get both sides


  9. - West Side the Best Side - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 4:11 pm:

    I’ll sign up for a satellite or cable company that promises no political ads - and throw in no hamsters with hoodies car ad too.


  10. - Retired - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 4:11 pm:

    That’s why I rarely watch anything in real time. I record programming and zoom through anything that is other than the program.


  11. - Norseman - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 4:12 pm:

    This iteration seems good for primaries and securing your base. Campaigns are additive and at some point the message needs to go beyond that base. This could really be a powerful tool if there were a way to identify leaning independents.


  12. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 4:13 pm:

    Anon 402p = langhorne


  13. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 4:22 pm:

    A couple of competing technologies at work here, as brought up by commenters.

    Improved technology to target voters for commercials vs. Improved technology to avoid commercials altogether.

    That last one has been really shaking up the industry, as advertisers keep pushing for more sophisticated measures.


  14. - Cheryl44 - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 4:25 pm:

    I have not seen a political ad (except for here) since I got a Roku and a Hulu Plus subscription.


  15. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 4:42 pm:

    Eight years too late.


  16. - Jeff Trigg - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 4:58 pm:

    Wouldn’t D ads sent to Ds and R ads sent to Rs just be preaching to the choir? And what about the rising rate of independent voters and the decreasing rate of self-identified Ds and Rs? I don’t think this will be a big deal. The more the Ds and Rs bombard us with their ridiculous partisan policies and attack ads the fewer people who stay tuned in.


  17. - Wumpus - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 4:59 pm:

    Maybe rauner doesn’t care, but some of the tv shows he advertises on are aweful. Maybe he is doing outreach, bbut he advertises on any and everything.


  18. - Jimmy - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 5:14 pm:

    They need this on Netflix and Hulu as well.


  19. - Then again... - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 5:36 pm:

    If this catches on, TV will start to make a whole lot more sense for State House and Senate races in the Chicago market. If cable figures it out like Rich said, TV could rival mail…


  20. - Amalia - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 5:39 pm:

    there goes the argument with the candidate who just wants to be on a little cable station!


  21. - DuPage Bard - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 6:05 pm:

    The big key is do any of them have a model that will get people off the couch and vote?


  22. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 7:21 pm:

    ===This could really be a powerful tool if there were a way to identify leaning independents.===

    Yes.

    Might be good for Primaries, and focusing your tailored messages.

    Sometimes being too myopic isn’t the best way to build more voters.


  23. - Jibba - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 9:24 pm:

    Now if only we could find a way to tell them that we have already made up our minds, and therefore we don’t need to see ANY ads!


  24. - Judgment Day - Wednesday, Aug 20, 14 @ 10:19 pm:

    Probably not going to work anywhere near as well as the hype. The big boys (Google, Apple, MS, Samsung, Amazon, etc.) are already trying to make this same approach work on a far larger, and far more reliable basis.

    And accomplishing that means tying IP addresses to site addresses, and that’s where digital mapping comes in, and it’s anything but easy.

    They are spending big time dollars (serious money) to accomplish this, with the end goal of being able to push advertising of all types down to the household level.

    They’ve already found something out. Speed matters in doing this. You can’t effectively push customized ads to specific locations/tv’s without using an IP address. An ‘account number’ doesn’t work tied to address/location just isn’t fast enough, and theres’ way, way too many holes.

    Comcast has already tried that (tying account number to address) - won’t admit it, but it falls under the category of ‘epic FAIL!”.

    But to really accomplish this, you’ve got to have a really good set of ‘internet pipes’ going to individual locations, and accomplishing everything through IP addresses. That’s also why IPV6 is so important. What we have in place today won’t accomplish it.

    We’ve got the tech, we’ve got the data farms, this is where “Big Data’ and ‘Big Data’ software come into play - and a large problem is our ISP’s and network providers (Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, etc.) are way behind the curve in terms of performance, and overly expensive.

    My .02

    Once the pol’s figure out where the bottlenecks exist, then these folks are likely in trouble.


  25. - Goonhammer - Thursday, Aug 21, 14 @ 4:13 am:

    Xfinity is doing this already, Rich! And they can target specific County areas too. Its super interesting, here’s the link: http://www.comcastspotlight.com/markets/chicago/6620/political


  26. - Downstate - Thursday, Aug 21, 14 @ 6:42 am:

    I met the man that does the data collection and interpretation for Cox media in this same vein

    Interesting point. cox has data on more than 1.5 million users while neilsen ratings only survey some 18k households.

    The viewing habits of Americans are vastly different than what the small Nielsen sampling shows per my friend.
    For example, late night shows like Fallon and letterman really aren’t watched that much.

    And the most popular show in america per cox is absolutely horrifying.


  27. - Siriusly - Thursday, Aug 21, 14 @ 8:29 am:

    Fascinating, but one factor that segmenting does not account for is the socialization of messages. You and your neighbors may have different voting records and different profiles. So when you ask your neighbor about what she thinks about the latest Quinn mailer attacking Rauner for neglecting people in nursing homes - neighbor will have no idea what you’re talking about.

    Segmenting is helpful, but mass communication still is necessary.


  28. - zatoichi - Thursday, Aug 21, 14 @ 9:00 am:

    May be a nice tech idea, but is nothing more than a commercial about as desired as robocalls which get hung up/ignored immediately.


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