Here’s an interesting story from Ad Age about some technology Google is tinkering with for TV ads. I actually think I like this idea. The idea is to include “quality” as a metric and to use that to price advertising. The proposed quality metric is based on audience retention during an ad, so the more people who watch the ad completely, the cheaper the ad is for the advertiser. The fewer people who watch, the more costly the ad. The hope seems to be that unpopular and stale ads would get pulled from the airwaves very quickly. This will be enabled by two-way communication as viewers watch TV. The article says that it’s unclear how Google would do this, but I disagree. Largely, it has do with who Google partners with on the content delivery side. Two-way communication is possible to get from viewers with cable and DVR’s because those already have two way communication built into them. The second-to-second aspect is the real problem — but who says you can’t choose a sample of the viewing audience at each second. Also a viewers viewing information can be cached internally on the hardware and sent up to the service provider or Google at anytime of the day. As for the viewing audience, my hope is that this of system will get rid of commercial fatigue. The first two or three times I see an interesting commercial, I will pay attention. As the commercial is repeated, I lose interest and either do something else while the commercial is on, fast forward through it via TIVO or flip the channel. It sounds like under the system that Google is proposing as a commercial becomes stale, it will cost the advertiser more to continue to run the commercial, thereby forcing the advertiser to make fresh commercials. So the good commercials will naturally rise, but after saturation is reached, something new will have to be brought in keep the audiences’ attention.