TV Viewing and Advertising Targeting

70 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2017 Last revised: 13 Dec 2017

See all articles by Yiting Deng

Yiting Deng

University College London

Carl F. Mela

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business

Date Written: January 16, 2017


Television (TV), the predominant advertising medium, is being transformed by the micro-targeting capabilities of set-top boxes (STBs). Accordingly, this paper uses a proprietary, household-level, single source data set to develop a second-by-second show and advertisement viewing model, using this approach to forecast consumers’ exposure to advertising and the downstream consequences for sales.

We find that micro-targeting can lower advertising costs and raise incremental profit. Further, these advantages are amplified when advertisers are allowed to buy real-time as opposed to up-front. Overall, we find considerable targeting gains.

Keywords: TV Advertising, Targeting, Set-Top Box, Sampling

JEL Classification: M31, M37, L10, L82, C61

Suggested Citation

Deng, Yiting and Mela, Carl F., TV Viewing and Advertising Targeting (January 16, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Yiting Deng (Contact Author)

University College London ( email )

Level 38, 1 Canada Square
London, Please Select E14 5AA
United Kingdom
2031086081 (Phone)

Carl F. Mela

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business ( email )

Box 90120
Durham, NC 27708-0120
United States
919-660-7767 (Phone)

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