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Your TV is Watching You: Behavorial Targeting Hits Your Living Room

How are they doing it?  Let me count the ways!

  1. Cablevision matches the names and addresses of their subscribers with regular ad data from third parties, and, voila, different ads to different set top boxes, even if you are watching the same show.    Uses VisibleWorld  Say it’s a hotel ad:  the mom types get an ad promoting their family based activity.   The single guy’s ad highlights their clubs and nightlife. 
  2. Dave Morgan, of Tacoda fame, uses your channel changing habits to target ads.   He uses algorithms to categorize the set top box (not the viewer) and targets ads according.  Simulmedia  tracks the data second-by-second.  You like satire news?   You’ll get the edgier version of that ad.
  3. Rentrak, a TV-measurement and advertising-services firm, works through your live-TV and DVR  viewing. The company, in some cases, measures videos watched on mobile devices, too.
  4. Even TiVo got into the game.  Partnered with TRA, which matches real time data for TiVo boxes, a cable operator and other data, like store frequent shopper cards.    Experian PLC matches the TiVo box to your address through the store card.  Now they know what you watch, what you buy and where you live.    My fave correlation?   TRA found that watchers of “Jersey Shore” are regular buyers of yogurt.  And here I thought it was tanning services and cheap booze.
  5. And let’s not forget Google and the long discussed GoogleTV.   When they finally get it right, they’ll be a big player.   Imagine if they use your email content and TV viewing to target ads?

BTW, I’ve been talking mainly about consumer products here. Can you imagine when political candidates start targeting ads by voter?

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