Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Cable Companies Target Commercials to Audience

Your gonna get the commercial included with your TV show anyway, why not get ads that are relevant to you. Technology enables ads to be targeted by set top box so that your home receives ads that match your demographic profile. And while my cable company knows I have a house and x number of cable boxes, they still don't know what I drive or what I buy; they rely on the zip code of my neighborhood to ascertain my economic situation. Or do they?

How much information is being collected and shared and cross referenced with my cable bill. And should I care. On the plus side, the ads that I get might have more interest to me. They might be more a resource than a distraction and be of great value to both me and the advertiser. And as the demographic information is aggregated, my personal information remains personal. "Cablevision says it segments its subscribers only by demographics, so that an advertiser can divide ads among various groups: General Motors, for example, could send an ad for a Cadillac Escalade to high-income houses, a Chevrolet to low-income houses, and one in Spanish to Hispanic consumers."

On the negative side, the question is one of it being a slippery slope. At what point does the aggregate data become personal data. Privacy does matter and needs to be protected. "The potential of customized ads worries some privacy advocates, despite the assurance of cable companies that they maintain anonymity about the households." Cablevision says they are extra protective that personal information is not shared.

And what of Canoe Ventures. Is Cablevision ahead of their efforts or simply not wanting to play in the same sand box as Canoe. Personalization is happening on the web, it only makes sense that it invades the TV, too.

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