Broadband Co’s Spy on Your TV Viewing and sell to Political Groups—Part II

By: Jeff Chester | Aug 30 2017

Political data firms on both sides of the aisle have bolstered their addressable TV capabilities. Today, Democratic data firm TargetSmart and Republican data outfit Data Trust each announced new partnerships with TV data providers. The outcome should be even more TV spots, especially from congressional campaigns, targeted to households of key voter segments than ever before.

Data Trust, the data firm that manages a national voter file for Republicans and right-leaning groups, has partnered with FourthWall Media to match FourthWall's cable viewership data to Data Trust's voter data. The result will be a feed of TV viewer data updated daily and matched against Data Trust's voting history and demographic data.

It was a year ago at the Democratic National Committee's summer meeting in Minneapolis when Democratic data firm TargetSmart Communications unveiled the addressable TV and digital ad targeting capabilities it developed with data services firm Experian. Today, TargetSmart expanded its TV data offerings through a partnership with Tru Optik, which provides media consumption data for digital media and connected TV devices such as Roku, Xbox, and smart TVs.

The company also has TV data deals with Rentrak and D2 Media Sales, which is a partnership between DISH and DirecTV/AT&T.

"We're trying to get as many partnerships out there as possible," said Bill Russell, director of digital partnerships at TargetSmart.

These sorts of voter and TV data deals are bringing the targeting capabilities of online advertising to TV ad buys, which historically have resulted in some wasted spending for political campaigns that would do better to target ads to desired voter groups rather than those less likely to support their candidates.

The new approaches have grown in popularity following the 2012 election, when President Obama's re-election campaign famously employed innovative data-crunching methods for buying TV ads aimed at voters through programming rarely purchased by political advertisers.

By partnering with more and more TV data and media firms, political data companies are bringing what was once accessible only to large statewide or national campaigns to smaller, down-ballot candidates. Through such relationships, political advertisers can reach pre-defined voter segments, such as likely Democratic or Republican voters, or custom groups of voters.

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