Targeted TV ads


Technology is about to change the way you watch commercials. Some TV ads are now being targeted toward your interests and the data needed to make that happen, is all coming from inside your home.

Marisa loves TV time with her family and she said she is prepared for the television commercial revolution:  ads targeted to her interests.

“I would rather watch something that’s made for me and my family,” she said.

What are “targeted TV ads”?

“The ability for the advertisers to reach the right audience, the right viewer, at the right time on the right program on the right network,” said advertising expert Mark Lieberman.

How do they do that? Ninety million U.S. households have digital set top boxes. Experts say many cable or satellite providers record what shows air on the tv’s in your home.

“Consumers should be very excited about this,” explained Lieberman. “The advertising becomes part of the entertainment value of the experience. So if they have a dog and they see an ad about dog food that’s interesting to them.”

Soon, these targeted ads will get even more high tech. Two homes next to one another could be watching the same show, at the same time but see two different commercials.

“Advertising is all about reducing the waste by not advertising to people that are never gonna to be interested in buying your product. By putting the relevant ads in front of the people that actually will end up buying your product so you turn them into actual either buyers or loyal buyers,” said Lieberman.

But privacy experts are not as excited about it.

“This comes as a bit of a surprise to most people that it’s happening, so its definitely creepy,” said Pam Dixon with World Privacy Forum.

She also worries viewers will be limited on what products they are exposed to and it could create some uncomfortable situations.

“So I go over to my neighbors house to watch a football game or a basketball game and I see totally weird ads, you know based on the kind of things that I see, and it kind of tells you things about that person– it becomes a weird revealing thing,” she explained.

But Marisa hopes revealing a little info about her family will be a trade off.

“I watch a couple commercials, I learn about some new deals and specials that happen to be going on then so be it and if it pertains to me all the better,” she said.

To find out what kind of data your television provider collects and if they send targeted ads, you can check your company’s privacy policy. There should be information about opting out if you are uncomfortable.

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