New Audience-Targeting Technology Spies On You Via Cable Box.

Written by 5ivecanons Staff

TV has always been a one-way medium broadcasted to the masses, but new audience-targeting methods are coming out that change the channel on broadcast strategies.

Digital marketers have become famous for knowing everything about you, following you around the internet, and serving you incentives to make impulse decisions based on your behavior. Here’s a great example: you’re surfing the web checking out a delicious new product from your favorite frozen burger company, and a few hours later you see a 10%-off coupon ad for that same product on Facebook.

That process is called retargeting. It’s done with cookies, which track your web activity and serve relevant ads for consumer engagement. That process could never work for broadcast, until now.

NBCUniversal, one of the top media and entertainment companies, recently announced the launch of its Audience Targeting Platform, where it will gain access to viewer information from its parent company, Comcast. In addition to demographics and rating information regarding what viewers watch and when they watch it, new targeting methods will also pinpoint behavior, purchase history, and interests, building full bios for viewers. By combining viewing data with pre-collected consumer data, marketers will be able to more effectively pinpoint high-value TV inventory to optimize clients’ media plans.

Marketers no longer have to choose between digital media’s data-driven targeting and television’s scale and unparalleled ability to communicate via great storytelling.
-Linda Yaccarino, Chairman, Ad Sales & Client Partnerships, NBCUniversal

NBCUniversal and Comcasts’ partnership may be the first in this new method of audience-tracking, but it definitely won’t be the last.

Where is the line drawn in the sharing of viewer profiles? A Comcast representative said that their collected information is not sharing “personally identifiable information,” but it allows media companies to do research and create reports. Currently, independent commercials are not being delivered to each home, but it seems like that’s where this is headed. It will certainly pose future challenges in creating audience personas for individual consumers where more than one person uses the same television. It also creates concerns for families with children (e.g., what will be promoted, and will it be appropriate for the viewer’s age).

With cable on the decline and programs like Netflix and Hulu on the rise, advertising dollars are shifting from television to digital, so it’s no wonder that TV media companies are getting restless. This new targeting method might seem like the key to their resurrection, but with the issues of privacy, they need to tread carefully.

Want to learn more about targeted marketing? Check out our newest post on IP marketing, targeting neighborhoods of consumers who make shared purchase decisions.



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