The future of data-driven TV ad buying is moving in to sharper focus, after number-two US cable operator Charter invested in TV analytics company 605.

The deal involves Charter giving 605 access to its second-by-second TV nationaL viewership data, so that programmers and advertisers can better target their material. But it also involves 605 building an app to help Charter itself offer more refined ad targeting, and sees Charter making an investment in the group.

“They’re the second-largest MVPD in the country, collecting data from 41 states and 13 of the top 20 VMAs,” says Ben Tatta co-founder and president of 605.

“We have an audience app that we built with them that leverages set-top box data to allow their sales division to sell on a more audience-based (basis). That means moving beyond age and gender (criteria), to be able to sell on more granular attributes (like) car purchases or travel propensity, things that are more relevant to advertisers than just age and gender.”

Tatta previously had helped pioneer another cable operator’s approach to next-generation TV advertising, as a Cablevision executive. But he and partner Kristin Dolan left to form 605 as their own company, providing set-top box data to marketers.

Until lately, early advances in enabling addressable TV ad buying had been occurring in local TV ad markets. Now Tatta says the prospect is emerging of highly targeted TV advertising delivered nationwide, but doing so will require a footprint of scale.

“Our intent is to partner with any and every MVPD,” he adds. “Set-top box data has tremendous value.”