Google set to conquer space

Amy Scott Apr 3, 2007

Google set to conquer space

Amy Scott Apr 3, 2007

KAI RYSSDAL: Google used to be a straight search engine. It’s really more of an ad company now. And not just online, either. Today, the company announced a deal with EchoStar to sell ads on satellite television.

Advertisers spent about $70 billion on TV spots last year. So you can’t really blame Google for wanting a piece of that action. And Marketplace’s Amy Scott reports it’s trying to offer a little something extra.

AMY SCOTT: Google has already experimented with advertising in other media. It’s tried selling radio spots and newspaper ads. Now Google will begin auctioning ads based on EchoStar’s DISH Network.

Max Robins is editor-in-chief of Broadcasting and Cable magazine. He says Google’s technology gives advertisers something they crave.

MAX ROBINS: They want to show a return on investment. And I think Google is all about finding ways to prove the effectiveness of the advertising.

But other companies are in that business as well. Next month, Nielsen Media Research will provide commercial ratings to better measure ad viewership.

Advertising analyst Emily Riley is with Jupiter Research. She says the networks that have ad space to sell also track that kind of information. She doubts they’ll be too keen to work with Google.

EMILY RILEY: They have massive amounts of data about what audiences are doing, what they’re watching. So as soon as Google gets a hold of this, their particular leg up is gone.

Google plans to target its ads using audience information from the DISH Network’s set-top boxes. But because of privacy protections, it won’t have access to data on individual households.

Search industry analyst Danny Sullivan says Google may find it hard to reach a receptive TV audience.

DANNY SULLIVAN: With search advertising, people are always telling you exactly what they want. Whereas with television advertising, no one’s expressing their desire other than they’d like to watch a TV show.

But Sullivan says if Google didn’t get into the business, others would. In fact, companies like e-Bay and Spot Runner have. He says Google doesn’t want to make the same mistake it did with video search. When its own efforts didn’t take off, it ended up paying $1.6 billion to buy YouTube.

In New York, I’m Amy Scott for Marketplace.

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