For Marketers, TV Sets Are an Invaluable Pair of Eyes

from NYTs

While Ellen Milz and her family were watching the Olympics last summer, their TV was watching them.

Ms. Milz, 48, who lives with her husband and three children in Chicago, had agreed to be a panelist for a company called TVision Insights, which monitored her viewing habits — and whether her eyes flicked down to her phone during the commercials, whether she was smiling or frowning — through a device on top of her TV.

“The marketing company said, ‘We’re going to ask you to put this device in your home, connect it to your TV and they’re going to watch you for the Olympics to see how you like it, what sports, your expression, who’s around,’” she said. “And I said, ‘Whatever, I have nothing to hide.’”

Ms. Milz acknowledged that she had initially found the idea odd, but that those qualms had quickly faded.

“It’s out of sight, out of mind,” she said, comparing it to the Nest security cameras in her home. She said she had initially received $60 for participating and an additional $230 after four to six months.

More here.

Posted in Media, Privacy and tagged , , , .

One Comment

  1. Marketing and advertising has changed substantially because of the changes in how people watch television. Families would gather around the television and watch their favorite shows.
    Commercials between television shows was the ideal place to put advertisements. People would be updated on the news, new products and services, and be entertained. From the excitement of the television being the main source of information, everyone was engaged during the commercials and not multitasking. From the advances in technology and multiple sources demanding our attention, people are distracted when commercials air and do not stay connected to them.

    There are many ways people avoid commercials today, switching channels and fast forwarding through commercials are two examples. People can also be distracted by their phone when the commercials start. The biggest change in how people watch television is the popularity of streaming sites that has no commercials at all or allowing people to pay for a premium version of the site so that they do not have to listen to or watch commercials. With all of these distractions and ways to avoid commercials, marketers and advertisers have had to improvise and come up with new ways to reach their audience.

    TVision Insights is a marketing company that puts readers on television sets, phones, tablets, and other computers to study how customers interact with websites and view advertisements. I believe this new method to study consumer behavior is a great innovative way to figure out how to fill the commercial void. Although they are able to watch their participants reactions and facial expressions to different commercials and ads, they also compensate them. These people agree to being watched, so they are aware of the privacy barriers. Other companies should adopt this type of research or pay them to get data on their company because it is essential to get advertisement to people who are distracted and not paying attention to ads today.

    I agree with fellow blogger Jevon M that this is a very lucrative business and it is possible that companies have tried to collect this kind of data without telling individuals. That would be unethical and illegal if a business did that. It is also something to be aware of because privacy is a huge topic in the news lately. Companies, like TVision, need to make sure they have strict policies and follow the laws.

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