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Gracenote Signs Deals for Automatic Content Recognition

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While consumers probably know Gracenote best for its audio databases (its technology is used by iTunes, WinAmp, and more), the company is well-positioned for broadcast and online video, as well. As a trio of announcements show, Gracenote (a Sony subsidiary) is on top of the industry's hottest buzzword - automatic content recognition or ACR - and its technology will help connected TVs and second-screen apps deliver engaging experiences.

First, Gracenote announced a partnership with ad management and distribution company DG today that will let advertisers create interactive second-screen experiences. Gracenote's audio and video fingerprinting lets connected TVs and smartphone or tablet apps recognize TV content. Through the partnership, advertisers can create ads that synchronize with the TV broadcast and that are targeted to the viewer.

According to Gracenote, its ACR technology can identify television shows instantly. DG's chief marketing officer, Ricky Liversidge, calls ACR the key link to making interactive advertising a valuable reality for advertisers and broadcasters.

Gracenote's technology is being used for broadcast content, as well. The company announced today that it's working with Invidi Technologies, a television advertising solutions company, to create an addressable advertising system that will identify what content viewers are watching and make real-time decisions about what ads should play next. The idea is to bring the same kind of targeting already available to online advertisers to broadcast advertisers. The partnership joins Gracenote's audio and video fingerprinting with Invidi's addressable advertising.

In a similar vein, Gracenote announced a partnership with mDialog today to create targeted advertising tools for broadcasters. In this solution, Gracenote's fingerprinting will identify what content is playing on a television, and mDialog's Smart Stream Platform will insert targeted ads into the cable or satellite stream. The companies assert that the transition will be seamless, and that the viewer's standard programming will resume once the ad has finished playing. mDialog will use IP for ad delivery once Gracenote has identified a break suitable for an ad.

While online video is rushing to make itself more like television - by offering higher-quality content, seamless ad breaks, and catch-up programming - broadcast is rushing to make itself more like online, by offering individually targeted ads. ACR technology, from companies like Gracenote and Audible Magic, is a crucial tool for building richer video experiences.

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