Advanced Television

Don’t follow me

July 18, 2012

In the latest issue of Euromedia we publish our annual STB Survey taking the temperature of the segment. Casual observers might think ‘cooling’ would be the obvious answer as Smart TVs become the norm in the replacement market and more and more Apps developers and content companies make provision deals with the various manufacturers.

Nonetheless, executives from STB companies remain buoyant; they point to the continuing flexibility, reliability and processing capacity of STBs as provided by pay-TV operators. They remain confident that for the foreseeable future operators will want to provide the functionality, addressability and security that only an STB can bring

One of those functions that STBs play a part in is targeted advertising and the collection of the data that requires. So far, targeting has not proved the rich seam for service and content providers that its proponents forecast. And if signals from the Internet and social media are anything to go by it is going to remain an uphill struggle. Generally speaking audiences don’t like ads; PVR fast forward of ads is always a favourite function while the likes of HBO and Sirius XM have garnered millions of subscribers partly predicated on people’s dislike of ads.

It is true that viewers may be a bit less irritated by advertising that focussed on their interests, but only a bit. And, increasingly, they are wary of what they are trading in return for this targeting – i.e. personal data. While this is mostly anonymised and aggregated, even so data breaches and identity theft scares have spooked the public, and regulators are increasingly responding by mandating opt-outs from even quite low level data being collected.

A recent report from privacy management firm TRUSTe found that a year ago 27 per cent of US adults over the age of 18 said they would opt out of online behavioral advertising in order to protect privacy, this year that figure has nearly doubled to 50 per cent.

Additionally, 76 per cent said they don’t allow companies to share their personal information with a third party (up from 67 per cent last year), and 90 per cent said they use browser controls to protect their privacy, including deleting cookies (which is up from 84 per cent last year).

In March a survey from the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 73 per cent of respondents would “not be okay” with a search engine tracking searches because it was an invasion of privacy and 68 percent said they were “not okay” with targeted advertising because they didn’t like having their online behaviour tracked and analysed.

TRUSTe’s report also reveals that while 62 per cent of users know their Smart Phone uses ad tracking only one per cent like it, and less than 10 per cent are willing to share the location information that makes local targeting work.

If the trade off for targeting is handing over anything more than I absolutely have to, the public is saying thanks, but no thanks.


Categories: Advertising, Blogs, Nick Snow, PVR, STB, Targetted