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WB, Y&R invest in viewer tracking startup

Gamut device will utlize electronic coupons, order products from TV

Warner Bros. and advertising powerhouse Young & Rubicam have invested several million dollars in privately held Gamut Interactive, a startup developing a handheld device that will enable advertisers to track the behavior of TV watchers.

With the move, Jamie Kellner, CEO of the WB and Michael Dolan, CEO of Y&R also join Gamut’s board of directors.

Gamut wouldn’t disclose how much each company invested in the venture.

Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company produces a wireless device that measures advertising effectiveness among viewers by enabling advertisers to track behavioral data.

Electronic coupons

Gamut said its device, still to hit the market, will allow consumers to point at an icon in the corner of a TV screen, enabling viewers to then receive electronic coupons or complete orders for products.

“The key thing we do is make all media interactive and bring more understanding to the table for advertisers to understand who their consumers are,” said Neil Allison, Gamut’s chief marketing officer. “We help media companies develop a clearer understanding of who’s interacting with their product.”

Gamut, a 4-year-old company, has 22 employees. Clients include Albertsons, Petsmart, Kraft, General Mills and Pillsbury.

The company is trying to break into the entertainment arena and is looking at Kellner and Dolan to help introduce the company’s offerings to media players.

Of the new board members, “Jamie helps us get our business thoughts and ideas in front of media companies,” Allison said. “He’s well connected in the industry and we need that.”

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