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Can Satellite TV Save a Senate Campaign? Can Satellite TV Save a Senate Campaign?

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Can Satellite TV Save a Senate Campaign?

The satellite industry is about to make campaign consultants’ dreams come true—for a fee.


Gov. Rick Snyder's "One Tough Nerd" ad helped propel him into office in 2010. This year, Michiganders might see dozens of different versions of a statewide ad, all targeted to them.(BILL PUGLIANO/Getty Images)

Your television is talking to you—or at least it will be soon.

DirecTV and Dish Network are teaming up to offer something called "addressable advertising," or partnership. The idea behind the partnership is to allow politicians to get extremely specific as they target their messaging.


Live in a retirement community? You'll probably be seeing lots of ads about Social Security. Do a lot of driving? You'll be hearing about gas prices. Worried the local factory might close? Now you you'll get to see your state's Senate hopefuls try to outdo one another with pledges to save it.

This kind of targeted advertising isn't new. Allstate has used it to show one set of insurance ads to renters while homeowners see another. But now satellite providers are trying to use it to cash in on the big-money enterprise of statewide political campaigns.

Addressable advertising, said DirecTV's Keith Kazerman, "utilizes highly sophisticated and targeted technology that will allow political campaigns to specifically reach swing voters with TV ads. Campaigns can focus their message to a precise set of potential voters and eliminate the spending waste."


The providers will be offering the service for statewide campaigns. And while the partnership—which will start out with about five shared staffers in Washington and will begin selling ads in a couple weeks—has the satellite companies seeing green, it no doubt has campaign managers drooling as well.

Rather than discussing a broad platform on education, your state's gubernatorial hopeful can talk about his plan for your area's struggling school district. Meanwhile, the next town over, voters are hearing a plan to bolster a key local industry. So don't be surprised if the ads for governor and senator start sounding a lot like the ads for your state representative. All politics is local, right?

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