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Deconfusinator: Google Ads on DirecTV? How Does That Work?

Remember when DirecTV and TiVo were best pals? It didn’t last. But now DirecTV has a big, bad mother of a new best friend: Google. It’ll be selling ad time on some of DirecTV’s channels. But isn’t this confusing?

Google DirecTV

Remember when DirecTV and TiVo were best pals? It didn’t last. But now DirecTV has a new big, bad mother of a best friend: Google. It’ll be selling ad time on some of DirecTV’s channels. But … Google, the Net giant, selling TV ads?

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The Associated Press is reporting that DirecTV and Google have just entered into a big new deal about selling advertising on its Bloomberg, Fox Business, Centric, Fuel, G4, Current, Ovation, Fit, Sleuth, Chiller, and TV Guide feeds (not all its channels, but a broad cross-section of TV genres). What you may not remember is that Google already has a TV ad-selling division and has deals with some 98 other cable channels.

DirecTV (“America’s #1 satellite TV service”), however, gives Google a huge leg-up into the TV ads business–extending its reach to some 19 million new households via DirecTV’s subscriber base, effectively tripling the ad audience it was reaching. And with the Net advertising space all but sewn up, and hot competition emerging from Apple and others in the nascent mobile Net advertising space, Google probably should look to TV to expand its ad business. Because, lest we forget, though Google is famed for its search engine, it’s really a giant ad-generating machine. It’s already playing in the “smart TV” game, too, attempting to turn plain-old transmission-only TVs into a two-way, Net-connected (and thus, Net ads-friendly) devices with partnerships with Sony, Intel, and so on … so it makes perfect sense for the company to try to sew up the other end of the market too–TV ads themselves. It’s certainly got the ad customer information available to it, possibly helping it decide which ads to pitch at which audiences, and it’s got a vast ad-selling mechanism already in place. Adding DirecTV into it won’t stress it too much, just as it unburdens DirecTV of having to do much of its own ad selling.

And, finally, it helps paint the picture of a potential push by Google to become TV’s go-to broker.

To keep up with this news, follow me, Kit Eaton, on Twitter.

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About the author

I'm covering the science/tech/generally-exciting-and-innovative beat for Fast Company. Follow me on Twitter, or Google+ and you'll hear tons of interesting stuff, I promise. I've also got a PhD, and worked in such roles as professional scientist and theater technician...thankfully avoiding jobs like bodyguard and chicken shed-cleaner (bonus points if you get that reference!)

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