CBS And Nielsen Will Debut Live, Dynamic Ad Insertion In A Bid To Make TV Commercials More Relevant And Effective

CBS Corp

CBS and Nielsen said today they are collaborating on a plan to bring dynamic ad insertion (DAI) to live, linear national broadcast TV, an effort they say will make the advertising experience more relevant and engaging for viewers.

The DAI solution relies on automatic content recognition technology from Gracenote, a company Nielsen bought from Tribune Media in 2016.

The technique promotes what is known as “addressable advertising,” meaning TV ad messages that addressed to individual viewers. Spots promoting a car brand, for example, could be shown to a viewer who the network and advertiser knows to be shopping for a certain car, with a certain amount of income and other key behavioral attributes. Current methods shotgun those ads out across the airwaves, directing them more broadly to demographic swaths according to age or gender. This approach has gotten increasingly exposed as inefficient in recent years, especially as digital video offerings have mushroomed and brands can target their spending in a more refined way.

“CBS has been at the forefront of using Nielsen data and measurement to prove the value of television, and now we are working on taking the next step with Nielsen to go beyond age and gender by bringing targeted dynamic ad insertion to national live TV inventory,” said Jo Ann Ross, President and Chief Advertising Revenue Officer, CBS Corp. “This will create a more relevant ad experience for our viewers and better outcomes for our clients.”

The news marked the second time in one day that CBS delivered a jolt to Upfronts Week, two days before its own upfronts presentation on Wednesday at New York’s Carnegie Hall. Earlier this morning, the company launched a legal attack against its controlling shareholder, National Amusements, filing a lawsuit that seeks to end Viacom merger talks and secure freedom for CBS to operate as an independent company.


Addressable advertising is a key priority for many traditional media companies facing an onslaught of competition from tech rivals with hundreds of millions of dollars to spend. It lies at the heart of the proposed merger of AT&T and Time Warner. Execs at the companies, which are fighting a government antitrust lawsuit seeking to block the deal, contend that the addressable ad potential of the deal will help them fend off digital rivals.

CBS Interactive has emphasized addressable functionality for digital properties such as OTT services like CBS All Access, news network CBSN and sports network CBS Sports HQ.

Gracenote ACR is also integrated into millions of smart TVs from major manufacturers, and uses anonymized information from smart TVs with advanced personalization features. By leveraging Gracenote ACR products, along with Nielsen’s industry-leading solutions, CBS and Nielsen say they will be able to delive a complete DAI platform.

“As TV becomes more digitally delivered, Nielsen is on the forefront of innovation in bringing our clients unique capabilities that will continue to drive the value of advertising on television,” said Peter Bradbury, Executive Vice President and Managing Director, National Client Solutions, Nielsen. “Nielsen, through its acquisition of Gracenote, will leverage patented technology to replace linear ad spots on individual Smart TV sets to offer more advanced advertising capabilities to brands.”

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