Privacy Battles Come To TV Ads

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March 26, 2012 – 12:03 am

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Privacy Battles Come To TV Ads

Although consumers are expected to buy more connected TVs over the next few years – about 500 million by the end of 2015, according previous estimates from DisplaySearch – the privacy issues that have hung over the internet the last few years is already coming to wifi-enabled sets.

And while Sony, LG, Vizio and other manufacturers have been pushing the envelope in getting the TV to reflect the digital abilities of the internet, Samsung has shown particular aggressiveness in this area. Earlier this month, the Korea electronics giant offered more details about its fifth generation line of “smart TVs,” which are not only “smarter,” but more social as well.

In a much-cited piece last week, DH Guru warned that the new TVs may not be intelligent enough to out-smart hackers and other entities who could conceivably steal consumers’ information just as they would on the PC.

While the danger of a malicious virus or activity with regards to users’ privacy on the connected TV is remote, Samsung’s statements were hardly comforting, issuing a tone-deaf announcement that it “assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable” in the event that a product or service is not “appropriate,” according to HD Guru.

Hasn’t Samsung learned anything from the internet industry’s headaches the past five years? The company doesn’t even have a disclosed privacy policy. And with face recognition technology and cloud storage, that raises a number of issues of concern, including what sort of data Samsung collects and whether it is shared with outside parties. Also, are the third party apps – including one from Facebook that will be embedded on the sets -- that appear on the sets able to collect user data on their own.

Samsung has been at the forefront in developing its connected TVs as ad platforms via deals with Rovi and YuMe. The company could blow that lead if it’s not careful, allowing competitors to tar as out of touch with consumers who care more and more about how their online information is traded upon.

It's easy to see how Samsung thought it didn’t have to worry about these matters. TV was always a one-way channel, distributing content to consumers.

But now with the direct and varied connection occurring among manufacturers, apps, ad networks, programmers and users, Samsung needs to take a look at what’s been happening in the digital arena that they are now a much deeper player in, or risk its front-of-the-line status as a connected TV platform pioneer by being the first to feel the brunt of a consumer backlash.

Viacom Trains Audience Targeting To TV

Viacom isn’t waiting around for Samsung and others to get “motion sensors” to tell them who’s watching their programming. The entertainment conglomerate  has begun offering called Surround Sound, a feature that allows brands to package audience-targeted TV buys as part of a total cross platform campaign. Adweek’s Tim Peterson wrote.

"Surround Sound" may harken back to the technology gimmicks of the ‘60s and ‘70s to by movie theater chains desperate to get TV viewers off the couch, but it actually represents the greater importance of cross platform ad sales these days. Marketers and media companies have finally agreed that the audience doesn’t consume content in a vacuum -- although there are demographic divides between heavy users of either TV and digital video, those categories aren’t mutually exclusive, after all. Increasingly, viewers have their smartphone or tablet in hand or nearby has they watch TV. And advertisers and networks are missing out if they don’t try to connect with consumers just as seamlessly and interchangeably as when the desired audience uses their personal electronic devices. Read the interview with Viacom's Josh Cogswell on AdExchanger.

Interestingly, the technology is powered by Adobe AudienceManager product – the news was timed was to the software company’s Salt Lake City ad tech conference last week – and shows the wider path it is taking to online advertising.

Adobe has been building its advertising business through major acquisitions such as last fall’s purchase of Auditude, which operates a platform for managing online video ads. It’s been noted many times that online video is the fastest growing segment of internet advertising. But with this Viacom deal, Adobe is keeping an eye on old media – and the billions of dollars that it can provide – even as it continues to deepen its hold on internet advertising. As the network upfronts get started – Viacom owns MTV Networks, after all – Adobe could find itself with a seat at the table.

You're Hired!

Comcast has promoted three executives to SVP: Tracy Pitcher to SVP of small and midsize business operations; Rebecca Scilingo to SVP of the Enterprise Project Management Office for Comcast Cable and Amy Stipandic to SVP of strategic process, design and delivery for the MSO. – Multichannel News

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March 26, 2012 – 12:03 am

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