What Your Television Will Know About You
Right now, most televisions don’t know the difference between you, your friend, your significant other, your nephew, or your mom sitting down to watch the television. But, I believe there are technologies that are going to change this quickly. When that happens, cable and satellite companies can create a graph of your personal viewing choices. Every individual person could have something like a TV fingerprint.
I believe this fingerprint could be used to profile your personality and not only market certain products to you (that is, you’ll see different commercials than your mother would see, even if she was watching the same program elsewhere) but also to bring you to the attention of organizations outside of advertising and marketing.
Initially, you’d notice the personality profile in places like pharmaceutical advertising, as these commercials began to get closer and closer to conditions or disorders that are likley to be affecting you. For example, certain shows in combination are likley to indicate someone with high levels of stress, so heart and anxiety medications will show up. We can already do some of this with age demographics and time of day, but the method I’ve outlined here will quickly supersede those methods.
Now, you can imagine how this could get a bit strange when the fingerprint that represents some extreme inclination or mental disorder is identified and people begin to match it. There are ethical considerations and matters of personal safety that may enter the zone of television entertainment.
So far, I’ve outlined how companies and governments could take shows and movies that exist and assign certain values for variables in each that would allow them to see further into the personality, inclinations, and habits of the viewer. But, I think it can be taken a step further still.
Imagine creating a show for the primary purpose of refining the algorithms. This is some new territory. For example, if I know that people who watch shows X, Y, and Z are likely work-at-home types, but I can’t tell whether or not they are network marketing types or freelancer types, I could introduce new entertainment programming specifically designed to attract one of those groups and be largely uninteresting to the other group.
The terrific part of all this is that it happens automatically. No one needs to go out of their way to log into Facebook, and then find the show page, and then “like” it, they just automatically “like” it by viewing it. Now that I’ve mentioned this, perhaps sites like Google, Facebook, and Apple will position themselves in partnership (or competition) with existing television entertainment distributors, i.e., cable and satellite companies.
Potential Clients: Apple, Google, Facebook, Cox, Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner