While advertisers struggle with how to reach a fragmented audience in a cluttered media marketplace, closely held Visible World is quickly emerging as a solution for TV networks and major marketers.
In between appearances by the likes of Paula Abdul and Kiefer Sutherland at Fox Broadcasting's star-studded upfront presentation last week, Jon Nesvig, president of sales for the
unit, mentioned a recently forged strategic partnership with Visible World.
The New York company has developed so-called adaptive advertising, which allows advertisers to digitally alter numerous elements of any given ad. As a result, Visible World is gaining traction among some of the industry's biggest players. Four of the top five largest advertisers in the world are said to be in discussions with the company. Others, including Fox, are already cheering Visible World's ability to enhance advertiser relationships through its proprietary technology.
"Visible World's technology allows the advertiser to deliver more timely and relevant messages," says Nesvig. "That flexibility makes network television an even more potent medium for them."
Other broadcasters and cable operators have sat up and taken notice of its intelliSpot technology, through which Visible World can customize TV advertising in ways never seen before. It is expected that the majority of multiple-system operators will deploy it by year's end. Minority shareholders in the company include London ad giant
( RTRSY), along with Frank Biondi's WaterView Advisors.
"Now you can make commercials that are living and breathing in that they can change constantly to the context of the programming," says Bill Katz, Visible World's executive chairman and a former head of
BBDO. He adds that the technology enables users to change ads according to business realities from interest rate changes and competitor pricing all the way down to the time of day or a change in the weather.
It is expected that another major broadcaster will sign on shortly but Katz refuses to comment on any potential agreements.
DVDs, personal video recorders, streaming video, rampant video game use and a host of other Internet-driven options for consumers have left advertisers with confusing choices in terms of how to allocate their ad budgets. Many questions hang over the effectiveness of traditional television advertising and how to measure return on investment.
For marketers that had to re-dub separate ads every time an alteration was needed, the benefits of Visible World's setup appear enormous. If a competitor lowers a price in a market, the weather changes or a particular spot is growing tired, they can now change elements in real-time through a router and Mpeg file.
For media buyers unhappy with a lack of accountability when it comes to measurement of expensive TV buys, the company's technology allows users to digitally alter advertising and customize messaging to fit the American Idol groupie or 24 aficionado. Fox and its advertisers will now be able to change the context of individual ads according to viewer response to the point where next door neighbors could well be watching the same show but different versions of the same commercial.
The platform agnostic technology is applicable to any sight, sound or motion device according to Katz. For now, the focus will be on the $66 billion television ad market in the U.S. and the $40 billion TV market worldwide.
Visible World seems to have tapped into that elusive space for marketers looking for actionable results and a way to measure the value of each message.