Addressable and Programmatic TV are 2 very different concepts that both attempt to use data to make buying and placement decisions. Both approaches are on the horizon and have the potential to bring big changes to the TV buying and selling community.
Addressable advertising is about delivering a unique message to specific households who are watching the same show at the same time. While tests have been run for years at many cable providers, only Cablevision, DirecTV and Dish have significant true addressability today. Enabling addressability in TV requires substantial technology investments and a loss of some channel capacity. In total, there are probably 10-12 million U.S. homes enabled for addressable TV ads today, and real scale may not be achieved for several years.
Programmatic advertising automates media buying, using machines to analyze huge amounts of data to make optimization and purchase decisions. Since the TV world does not utilize dynamic ad servers or automated sell-side platforms, programmatic TV advertising is still only in the idea stage, with some initial testing that incorporates the basic concept in a digital package.
The bottom line is that addressable and programmatic options will emerge at different times as different products. Each concept addresses different problems and each requires very different infrastructure investments with different changes to the current buying and selling processes. Since demand outstrips supply for TV ads, media owners currently hold the reins and will continue to control the timetable for this evolution.