Sens Ed Markey (D-MA) and Richard Bluemthal (D-CT) have asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the business practices of smart-television manufacturers amid worries that companies are tracking consumers’ viewing behavior without their knowledge.
A coalition of more than 20 consumer advocacy groups is expected to file a complaint with federal officials claiming that YouTube has been violating a children’s privacy law. The complaint contends that YouTube, a subsidiary of Google, has been collecting and profiting from the personal information of young children on its main site, although the company says the platform is meant only for users 13 and older.
Over the next few months, with the implementation of a revised strategy, Facebook’s two billion users will see less content produced by news organizations and more from their friends, if all goes according to the company’s plan. So what does that mean for the media companies that have come to depend on the social media giant to drive readers to the articles and videos they create? As part of the shift, Facebook pages run by publishers and businesses may see a reduction in the number of people they reach and site visits, he wrote.
TVision — which has worked with the Weather Channel, NBC and the Disney ABC Television Group — is one of several companies that have entered living rooms in recent years, emerging with new, granular ways for marketers to understand how people are watching television and, in particular, commercials.
The appeal of this information has soared as Americans rapidly change their viewing habits, streaming an increasing number of shows weeks or months after they first air, on devices as varied as smartphones, laptops and Roku boxes, not to mention TVs. Through the installation of a Microsoft Kinect device, normally used for Xbox video games, on top of participants’ TVs, TVision tracks the movement of people’s eyes in relation to the television. The device’s sensors can record minute shifts for all the people in the room. The company then matches those viewing patterns to shows and commercials using technology that listens to what is being broadcast on the TV. “The big thing for TV advertisers and the networks is: Are you actually looking at the screen or not?” said Dan Schiffman, the chief revenue officer of TVision. “What you looked at is interesting, but the fact that you looked away is arguably the most interesting.”