A recurring question in the new competitive battlefield of telco vs. cable is differentiation. No one wants to be a “me too” service, yet the path to differentiation is quite cloudy. Does targeted and interactive advertising offer an opportunity at differentiation? Some analysts think so. The cable industry has promised this path for some time, but few think they have delivered. IPTV, at least in theory, has the capability to do so. The promise of targeted advertising in an IPTV world could be accomplished in much the same way that Google has mastered targeted advertising in search. Subscribers are served ads based on viewing patterns and other variables, and in an anonymous fashion. Less bombardment of useless ads and more acceptance of items of interest. If done correctly, both constituencies of viewer and advertiser goals could be met, creating a win-win situation for the video service provider. Talk about differentiation. Who will get there first?

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