• President Trump has killed the first real protections for commercial privacy that Americans have online. Phone and cable giants, allied with the GOP Congressional majority, have just voted to overturn the historic consumer-data safeguards adopted last year by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). AT&T, Comcast, Verizon—the country’s dominant providers of high speed broadband—along with industry and Congressional GOP allies, intensely opposed the new FCC rule. Why? Merely because it gives Americans some say in whether their sensitive information, such as web browsing activity and geo-location, can be used for digital marketing purposes. That’s right. The new FCC safeguard that was tossed into the legislative waste bin merely says that ISPs must first ask for permission before they can take this personal data in order to target us. Such an “opt-in” approach, requiring prior informed consent, is heretical to digital marketers, whose profits depend on using all of our information without ever really having to ask to do so. Until the FCC stepped in, it was the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that served as the primary federal agency handling Internet privacy. But unlike the FCC, which can readily issue regulations to protect the public, the FTC is constrained from doing so. More than three decades ago, the advertising industry successfully lobbied Congress to curb that agency’s rulemaking authority (during a fight over another media issue—whether there should be limits on children’s advertising). Primarily, the FTC can only punish companies that engage in “unfair” or “deceptive” acts—such as lying to customers about how they use or protect our information. But if a company writes a privacy policy that basically provides them with unlimited access to all our data—which is what they do—the FTC is basically powerless to do anything at all. Which is why the phone and cable giants—along with Google and Facebook—prefer the FTC. It provides the illusion of having actual oversight and limits, when really nothing much is possible. Under the FTC’s watch, Americans have just experienced an unprecedented loss of their privacy. In the last few years, for example, digital marketers have aggressively pushed the boundaries of what information they gather from us and how it can be used. Our offline and online data is now routinely merged, generating “profiles” that connect our street address to the “cookies” and other online identifiers provided by our digital devices. Our precise geo-location is also regularly captured by mobile phones and “apps” that stealthily send our whereabouts to online companies and retail stores. Massive one-stop data broker “clouds” have emerged that provide reams of information, including about our finances, health, political interests, ethnicity—sold to marketers large and small. Our data “profiles”—digital dossiers—have become invaluable corporate assets that are bought and sold in milliseconds by powerful computers scattered across the globe, our identities traded for profit, as if they are just another commodity. Ongoing advances in how data are analyzed and used—so called “Big Data”—is ushering in even more ways companies can more precisely determine who we are, what we do, where we go, and how we should be treated. The leading phone and cable broadband ISPs have made major investments in tapping into the latest “Big Data” techniques. For example, Verizon recently introduced “Smartplay,” which helps deliver “smarter advertising” by creating what it calls “individual viewer personas that capture viewing history, account profile details and other valuable data….” Comcast Labs employs “Big Data research teams” that have expertise in “machine learning algorithms, forecasting models, intelligent image and video search, automated scene analysis, voice biometrics, recommender systems, personalization, and deep metadata.” AT&T is relying on its “Consumer Insights Platform” team to turn “big data into big insights….” ISPs also partner with leading data providers, such as Acxiom and Oracle, to enhance the robust details they already have about their broadband and video service subscribers. The big ISPs have also been on a shopping spree, acquiring companies that further their digital data advertising clout. Verizon acquired AOL and is now in the process of buying Yahoo; AT&T bought the leading satellite TV company, DirecTV, in part because of its digital ad capabilities; it now wants to fold Time Warner into its empire. Comcast has swallowed up ad-tech companies such as Visible World, FreeWheel, and StickyAds (and its NBC subsidiary has also embarked on its own formidable data-driven ad initiative). It is precisely because ISPs provide us access to residential broadband or wireless networks that they have a unique window into our lives. While Google and Facebook have their own far-reaching capabilities, they are primarily ad-supported marketing companies. When we pay a (hefty) monthly subscriber fee for Internet access, we should not also be exposed to having our Internet provider capture every bit of information it can, let alone tie that data together with what we do when we use our mobile and gaming devices or watch TV. The FCC’s new privacy rule builds on the agency’s network neutrality policy requiring that companies providing access to the Internet must operate in a fair and nondiscriminatory manner. Long-standing safeguards for protecting the privacy of our voice conversations over the telephone network have been brought into the 21st century—and now it’s also our broadband communications that must be respected. (Network neutrality is also under threat of elimination by the Trump FCC.) The ISPs and ad industry lobbyists disingenuously claim that having the FTC protect consumer privacy for all Internet companies, including ISPs and data giants like Google, is the most effective approach. It would be so, perhaps, if the FTC had any real clout. Many of the companies and trade groups urging that the FTC replace the FCC as a privacy regulator have lobbied against giving the trade commission actual authority to do so. They cynically know that turning over our broadband privacy to the FTC will mean business as usual—more of our offline and online data endlessly flowing into sophisticated databases that provide advertisers and other commercial entities (and perhaps government) detailed actionable blueprints of our lives. It will also mean that the only real potential privacy protection Americans have had to make their own mind up about whom to share data with and for what purpose will be lost. The ISPs, data-marketing companies, and their supporters are also fighting against the privacy rule because they know we are also on the eve of a new era—the Internet of Things—that will generate even more personal information about us. In today’s digital era, data is power. And that power should be in the hands of the people—not those that wish to financially and politically benefit by harvesting our information. --30-- President Trump has killed any hope that Americans would enjoy basic privacy protections online. By signing the bill, Mr. Trump has allied himself with the telecommunications and digital media giants who seek to profit from every detail of our lives. This is a betrayal of the American people and an insult to our democracy. All that the FCC safeguard did was to require cable and phone companies to ask for permission before they could profit from a person’s most sensitive information—including that individual’s web browsing, geo-location, financial details and data on children. President Trump helped the special interests and abandoned American families. Mr. Trump directly benefited from the absence of any federal privacy law or rule that protects having our information easily made available to commercial interests. His senior counselor Steve Bannon has been paid by and has investments in data-marketing firm Cambridge Analytica, which helped the Trump campaign. Mr. Bannon would have understood that the new federal privacy protections would enable the public to restrict the flow of commercial data going to political campaigns. We find this potential conflict of interest troubling, and it requires further scrutiny. (Kellyanne Conway was also a Cambridge Analytica consultant.) While today’s action by the president ends the FCC broadband privacy rule approved last October, we believe the public has also won something significant. For the first time, millions of Americans have been informed that they have little or no privacy on the Internet and when they use their mobile devices. Moreover, we have assembled one of the largest public-interest coalitions ever to advance consumer privacy protections. Many policymakers—on both sides of the aisle—have declared themselves as advocates for stronger protections. We will be back. But today, President Trump has given America a digital black eye before the world—a world in which most advanced nations understand that personal privacy is a fundamental democratic right. - Jeff Chester is executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, a Washington-DC-based consumer digital rights group.
    Jeff Chester
  • News

    A Big Win for Commercial Surveillance on the Internet -- a Gigantic Loss for Democracy

    US Citizens and Consumers left further exposed to unfair and discriminatory data practices.

    The following can be attributed to Katharina Kopp, Policy Director, Center for Digital Democracy. --- Today’s House vote to overturn the first major Internet privacy protection for Americans, may be a win for ISP monopolies, but it’s a tragic loss for our democracy. Broadband providers, such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon, will now be able to sell our sensitive information to the highest bidder without first receiving our permission. We believe today’s misguided vote will unleash even more “Big Data” profiling and tracking of Americans, and spur an array of discriminatory practices. Without any restraints, ISPs will dramatically erode what should be an important American fundamental right—that of privacy. If President Trump allows this bill to become law, his Administration will place new burdens on hard-working Americans and their families—who will be at the mercy of a handful of digital giants. CDD and our allies, here and in the EU, pledge to continue our fight against the special interests that have gained new ways to control how we use the Internet and other digital media. Contact: Jeff Chester Executive Director Center for Digital Democracy Washington, DC. www. (link sends e-mail) 202-494-7100
  • CDD Executive Director, Jeff Chester speaks on Congress’ dismantling of the FCC Privacy Rule with CNN’s Jake Tapper on March 29th, 2017.Full interview available at (link is external).
  • Blog

    Americans Lose Privacy Rights in Senate Vote

    Now will be exposed to ongoing commercial surveillance of their most personal information

    Americans lost a crucial right today as the GOP-controlled Senate voted to overturn the only federal protection that could have protected their privacy online. This is a key victory for lobbyists from the ISP monopolies, such as AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon. These companies have built a “Big Data" business model to track—and profit from—our every move online. Today, Americans who use personal computers, mobile phones and other online devices are the victims of continuous monitoring of their digital activities. Internet companies know where we shop, what we buy, who are friends are, how we use multiple “screens" and much more. ISPs have also acquired the power to take our data and generate powerful insights that can be used in far-reaching ways. Without the FCC rule, American ISP customers will have no real privacy protections because of current limitations placed on the Federal Trade Commission by Congress and the courts. The FCC rule would have been the first new commercial privacy protection for Americans since Congress passed the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) in 1998. Under the FCC safeguard passed last October, a subscriber would first have to give consent—opt-in—before their most sensitive data (such as geo-location and web browsing activities) could be used in digital dossiers designed to deliver targeted marketing. It’s clear that the GOP Senate, the big broadband companies, and major advertisers were terrified of having to ask American consumers permission before using their information. Today’s vote should trigger the European Union to begin reviewing the so-called “Privacy Shield” agreement that allows data to flow between the EU to the U.S. Today’s decision puts our trading partners—and the U.S. companies that depend on the flow of information—at risk. We will ask our EU consumer colleagues to press the European Commission to revoke the “shield." Today’s Senate vote was also a key learning moment for Americans, who heard from Sen. Ed Markey and others concerning what is at stake as broadband companies now gain a front-row seat to gather and sell our personal information. Even if the new FCC rule is overturned by the House and signed by the President, there will be an ongoing campaign to expose the powerful data-gathering apparatus that is being assembled by the phone and cable broadband companies. Jeff Chester CDD is a consumer digital rights group based in DC.
    Jeff Chester
  • Blog

    Empowering and Protecting Youth in the Big Data Era: Issues and Perspectives from the EU and U.S.

    Sponsored by the Information Society Policy Committee, Trans Atlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD)

    Young people are growing up in a digital world of constant connectivity – engaging 24/7 through social media, mobile devices, gaming platforms, and video streaming channels. While offering important opportunities for youth to express their creativity, explore and learn, interact with their peers, and participate in civic discourse, contemporary digital media can also pose threats to their privacy and can negatively impact their development. Children and teens spend or influence an estimated $1.2 trillion a year worldwide. Media companies, programmers, and advertisers are developing hundreds of new digital ventures designed to tap into this growing lucrative youth global market. For example, Google -- whose YouTube channel has become the largest and most popular platform for children’s entertainment – recently launched a new YouTube Kids app, targeting very young children with ad-supported content. Powered by the forces of Big Data, contemporary digital marketing relies on extensive data collection, tracking and profiling. Food companies use an array of sophisticated techniques to promote junk food and soft drinks to young people through interactive games, mobile phones, and other digital platforms. Children and teens are avid users of social media like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, and Twitter, where marketers insert their brands into identity development, peer relationships, and social interactions. Toymakers and other companies are eagerly embracing the so-called “Internet of Things,” creating a new generation of Internet-connected toys that take advantage of Big Data capabilities. Consumer and privacy groups recently filed a series of coordinated complaints with regulators in the U.S. and the E.U over a new Internet-connected doll, My Friend Cayla, which collects children’s voice data and shares it with third parties. While there are some regulatory policies in place, in both the EU and the US, their ability to address the Big Data practices of today’s contemporary children’s digital marketplace is limited. There is an urgent need for fresh thinking about how to balance children’s fundamental rights to privacy, safety, and consumer protection, with other, important rights, including the right to participate fully in the digital public sphere. In the U.S., the 1998 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) was revised in 2012 to reflect a range of contemporary data collection and digital marketing practices. In Europe, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will come into force in May 2018, contains a number of new data safeguards for children, including a provision adapted from COPPA’s model for parental permission, raising the age requirement from 13 to 16. While individual Member States can vote to exempt themselves from this requirement, the new regulation has prompted concerns that youth will not be able to access social networking platforms and many other digital media services. The current debate over the GDPR, along with other recent EU policy developments, creates the opportunity for a broader, international conversation about what the best framework should be to ensure fair marketing and data protections for young people in today’s global media system. This special TACD event brings together consumer and privacy advocates, academics, policy makers, and industry representatives for a focused roundtable discussion to: identify the key issues raised by emerging trends in contemporary children’s digital media; assess the current state of regulatory policy in both the EU and the United States; exchange perspectives from various stakeholders; highlight opportunities for consensus building and collaboration; and begin crafting an agenda for transatlantic strategies and policies. --- AGENDA: 8:30-9:00: Coffee/breakfast 9:00-9:15: Overview of contemporary trends and emerging regulatory issues Kathryn Montgomery, Professor, School of Communication, American University 9:15-9:30: The My Friend Cayla Campaign: Case study of transnational consumer collaboration Finn Myrstad, Head of the Digital Services Section, Norwegian Consumer Council 9:30-10:30: Panel discussion: How to develop effective privacy and data protections for children and adolescents, EU and US perspectives Participants: Andrea Glorioso, Counselor for the Digital Economy, Delegation of the EU to the US David Martin, Senior Legal Officer, BEUC Katie McInnis, Policy Counsel, Consumers Union Maneesha Mithal, Associate Director, Division of Privacy and Identity Protection, Bureau of Consumer Protection, Federal Trade Commission Karuna Nain, Global Safety Public Policy Programs Manager, Facebook 10:30-11:30: Panel Discussion: What are the biggest concerns we have about the role of digital marketing in lives of children and teens and what should be done about it? Participants: Josh Golin, Executive Director, Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood Michiel Karskens, Manager of Public Affairs,Consumentenbond Finn Myrstad, Head of the Digital Services Section, Norwegian Consumer Council Margo Wootan, Director of Nutrition Policy, Center for Science in the Public Interest 11:30-12:00: General Discussion: Next steps for collaboration and agenda building
  • Phone, Cable Giants Build Digital Data surveillance systems to better spy on consumers. 9 reasons why they are lobbying Congress to kill your new privacy rights. 1. Phone and cable companies are increasing their investment and technological capability to track, capture and analyze all of their customers data across platforms— Internet, mobile and TV. They openly discuss how by having access to more screens— including mobile and TV (both cable and streaming) they are in a better position to target consumers on behalf of advertisers. Examples of what leading companies say their cross device delivery capabilities are. Comcast: (link is external) advertisers; (link is external) Verizon:; (link is external) AT&T:; (link is external) 2. Recent and pending acquisitions are designed to further cross device data gathering and targeting footprint. Verizon/AOL: (link is external) data-core/298607/ Verizon/Yahoo: (link is external) data-core/298607/ AT&T/DirecTV: (link is external) adworks-launches-video-programmatic-platform.html AT&T/Invidi: (link is external) AT&T/TimeWarner: (link is external) opportunities-and-potenti.html Comcast/NBC: (link is external) feed/nbcuniversal-amplifies-integrated-advertising Comcast/Visible World: (link is external) world-comcast-exerts-more-influence-on-the-demand-side/ 3. ISPs have expanded their investment in “Big Data” practices, including for targeted advertising. Comcast: (link is external) into-big-data-/d/d-id/729358; (link is external) blog/comcast-turns-big-data-smart-data-part-1/; (link is external) platform-handle-real-time-big-data/ Verizon: (link is external) advertisers/303186/;; (link is external) (link is external) problems-with-interactive-bi/ AT&T:; (link is external) (link is external) Client-Service-Principal/74668685 4. ISPs using their ability to identify us by location for ad targeting. Verizon: (link is external) customer-location-data-with-aol-advertising; (link is external) us/articles/204610694-Advertising-Video-Tutorials;; (link is external) (link is external) location-based-ads/ AT&T: (link is external) ; (link is external) 5. ISPs have acquired or expanded their real-time data targeting capabilities—called programmatic. Verizon:; (link is external) (link is external) programmatic-trifecta/ AT&T: (link is external) powered-videology-beat-black-box-tv-planning/; (link is external) Comcast: (link is external) Strengthens-Programmatic-Video-with-StickyAds-Purchase-11-268885?page=20; (link is external) advertising; (link is external) programmatic-advertising; (link is external) to-acquire-video-ad-platform-freewheel 6. ISPs position themselves to reap digital ad revenues. AT&T: AT&T wants more digital advertising. 8/15/16. (link is external) strategy/t-chose-omnicom/305446/ Verizon: (link is external) advertising/ Comcast: (link is external) to-scale-digital-advertising-for-20-million-broadband-subscribers; (link is external) video-cable-subscription-growth/ 7. ISPs expand OTT ad capabilities (streaming, “over-the-top"): Comcast: (link is external) unit-boots-direct-consumer-ott-service-content-players/409976; (link is external) AT&T: (link is external) 100-channels-original-content-for-35month/; (link is external) directv-now/ Verizon:; (link is external) (link is external) 8. ISPs expanding personalized targeting Verizon:; (link is external) (link is external) experiences-with-smartplay-by-verizon/ Comcast: (link is external) next-generation-x1-platform-the-future-of-tv; (link is external) watchwith-metadata-x1-search.html AT&T: (link is external) for-directv-now/; (link is external) time-warner-merger.html?_r=0 9. ISPs working with big data brokers, data marketing clouds that have extensive information to target consumers by race, finances, health, etc AT&T:; (link is external) (link is external) Comcast:; (link is external) (link is external) Verizon: (link is external) stories/verizon.html; (link is external) (axciom)
  • FinTech meets AdTech Requires Scrutiny from Regulators, Advocates. Safeguards Needed. NYIAX aims to transform ad inventory into standardized and durable securities. A blockchain-enabled media trading platform running in the cloud and powered by Nasdaq. NEW YORK, March 14, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Today, the world's first guaranteed advertising contract exchange - NYIAX (New York Interactive Advertising Exchange) - was announced. The new exchange will operate on Nasdaq's world-renowned technology and leverage the Nasdaq Financial Framework architecture. NYIAX will be the first exchange to be deployed in the cloud and also run on blockchain technology. "NYIAX is a trading platform that brings Wall Street to Madison Avenue through a Nasdaq-powered, seamless global exchange that allows publishers and advertisers to buy, sell and re-trade premium advertising inventory as guaranteed contracts," said NYIAX CEO Lou Severine. "By enabling guaranteed digital media contract trading with efficiency, transparency and ease and providing the proprietary matching engine and trading tools trades require, NYIAX helps advertisers and publishers dominate the $72 billion US digital advertising landscape they command1. Once the exchange achieves critical mass within digital, we will begin supporting TV, print, radio and out-of-home markets." NYIAX benefits media buyers by providing a transparent and trusted market to secure and re-trade premium future advertising inventory. Publishers benefit from the capabilities it provides to help them increase revenue by growing sell-through, retaining higher CPMs and reducing fees. For advertisers, the exchange delivers a new way of discovering and purchasing inventory. Through greater transparency and forecasting, advertisers are also able to secure the premium inventory they need in advance. Chief Product & Technology Officer, Richard Bush, is currently overseeing the onboarding of a select group of premium companies on the NYIAX platform. Once the pilot program is complete in late 2017, NYIAX will incorporate trading use cases, benefits and details into the training it rolls out to ensure all clients have the tools and tips needed for proficient platform use. "Trading, a vital part of other market sectors, has now come to media. With the ability to trade guaranteed media contracts, advertisers and publishers can now be efficient and rid themselves of unnecessary costs and risks," said Bush. NYIAX's exchange pushes the market forward by providing both a common taxonomy and standard interface to accelerate market growth and reduce fragmentation. The Nasdaq Matching Engine and other proven exchange data models and technologies provide the foundation on which Bush and his team created the NYIAX platform. NYIAX and Nasdaq also co-created the other modules necessary to specifically serve advertisers and publishers. "We are proud to support NYIAX on its groundbreaking new venture, and making it possible for the company to build a strong and efficient exchange that's a unique development in the adtech space," said Lars Ottersgård, Executive Vice President and Head of Market Technology, Nasdaq. "As a global leader for exchange technology, we can adapt our platform to accommodate a wide variety of market rules, asset classes and new technology innovations. NYIAX is leveraging our Nasdaq Financial Framework architecture, which draws on cutting-edge technology, including the integration of blockchain technology as our core ledger, as well as cloud-enabled trading and clearing capabilities." Read more: (link is external)
  • As marketers think about reaching their audiences at the right moment with the right message, music streaming offers a powerful channel to seamlessly activate CRM data and engage customers during high-impact moments. Today at RampUp 2017 (link is external), Spotify and LiveRamp (link is external)™, an Acxiom (link is external)® company, are partnering to enable marketers in the U.S. to activate people-based audiences on Spotify and engage them with the right message across devices. Each streaming context provides a unique opportunity to deliver a tailored message to the consumer. Advertisers can now take advantage of their own first-party data to engage their most valuable audiences on Spotify, whether they’re streaming on mobile at the gym, on desktop during their workday, in the car while commuting, or in the home on connected devices such as gaming consoles and smart TVs. Through this new partnership, brands can build segments from their CRM records and upload them directly into LiveRamp for secure and privacy-compliant delivery to Spotify. Once these audiences are available in Spotify, marketers can reach them across a 100% logged-in user base and unlock insights about their streaming habits and music tastes, ensuring the right message is delivered to known customers and prospects. Spotify’s partnership with LiveRamp™ is a powerful next step towards building out a people-based suite that makes the most of streaming intelligence for marketers. Spotify also offers a robust suite of first-party audience segments and real-time targeting solutions rooted in streaming insights, alongside a variety of industry-leading third-party data sources for targeting and measurement. As one new capability, Spotify now allows brands to create segments of users who were previously exposed to their messaging on the platform, giving marketers the ability to directly apply previously reached audiences to future campaign planning. --- For a link to the full article, visit (link is external)
  • Blog

    FCC Places Consumer Privacy at Greater Risk as it Seeks to Overturn Safeguards

    Giant ISPs, such as Verizon, expand tracking & profiling of public

    Today in the over-the-top (OTT) world, broadcasters and OTT service providers have few insights into what their viewers’ consumption habits are. Insights are key to making real-time decisions and personalizing a viewer’s experience, from content to ads and more. Imagine knowing your viewers’ preferences better than they do, anticipating their viewing interests at any given time and seamlessly providing content that intrigues and engages them. This is the future of streaming, and it’s possible thanks to Smartplay by Verizon, our 1 to 1 session management platform technology (link is external). Smartplay enables direct communication between you and your viewers. This connection captures how and what your viewers watch, and allows you to dynamically offer personalized content and targeted ad experiences (link is external) to every viewer on every screen. No one else in the industry offers this technology (link is external), but more importantly all the capabilities Smartplay enables you with: Smarter delivery Smarter insights Smarter advertising Smarter programming Smarter discovery Smarter protection So, how does Smartplay work? Smartplay begins right after the viewer presses play. It’s the pulse between the viewer and you, the broadcaster. It provides you with the knowledge of every viewer’s connected device and network conditions so that you can make real-time decisions to ensure a TV-like quality of experience (link is external) (QoE) for every viewer. Smartplay leverages insights about every viewer, their viewing habits and preferences, that allows you to understand every viewer on an individual level and how to maximize engagement and revenues. With Smartplay, it doesn’t matter whether you have hundreds or millions of viewers watching. You can treat them all individually and tailor the TV guide, effortlessly accommodating geographic restrictions and programming blackouts to select highly targeted advertisements. Now you can develop complete personas for each viewer to boost viewer engagement and the value of your ad spots. Smartplay enables you to finally answer questions like: How can I know what programming to invest in? How many ads do I place in a program? How do I best monetize my program catalog by selling to the highest ad bidder? And, you’ll be able to use Smartplay to offer viewers the supreme video streaming experience: their own personalized TV channel anytime, anywhere. By choosing Verizon Digital Media Services as your video streaming partner, you get to work with the smartest video platform and network that enables you to get intimate with your viewers so you can drive up your business. --- Watch this video to learn more about how Smartplay can help run a smarter video business: (link is external)
  • Blog

    Comcast Expands Use of Big Data to Track What You Do

    ISPs plan to expand digital data surveillance on consumers reason why they oppose new FCC privacy safeguards

    Making a key big data move, Comcast has quietly scooped up a small video metadata specialist to delve deeper into the programming that it delivers, improving the viewing experience for subscribers while opening up possible new advertising revenue opportunities for the giant US MSO. As reported first by Multichannel News (link is external) and later confirmed by Comcast, Comcast Corp. (link is external) (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) bought the ten-year-old metadata firm, Watchwith, late last year. Terms of the deal, which closed last month, were not disclosed. But a Comcast spokesman did say that Watchwith will be folded into its growing Comcast Metadata Products & Social Services (COMPASS) division and that all of its staffers will be staying on. Based in San Francisco, Watchwith is a 15-employee firm that specializes in tracking video information on a scene-by-scene basis. Its technology enables producers and editors to tag their video programs manually to gather "frame-level" data on those programs. The Watchwith system also offers media-analysis technology that enables content and service providers to tag programs automatically using computer vision and machine learning methods. Comcast has already relied on Watchwith technology to add new features to its X1 IP video platform. For one thing, the cable operator uses the firm's metadata in XI's "auto-extend" feature, which automatically extends the length of DVR recordings, especially sports events, that run longer than the original scheduled air time. Watchwith technology also powers a new sports highlights feature on X1 that automatically creates metadata tags so that viewers can skip directly to key plays in a sporting event recorded on their DVRs. Thanks to such capabilities, Watchwith offers some promising new ad possibilities for both service and content providers. Last year the company introduced an in-program "contextual" ad platform for IP-capable set-tops like Comcast's X1, as well as smart TVs and mobile devices. That platform allows programmers to offer interactive ad avails within shows at pre-set cue points, going beyond the more disruptive pre-roll and interstitial ad spots that are now available. It also bought Arris's Media Analysis Framework (MAF), a cloud-based machine learning and automated metadata-generation platform that ties into Watchwith’s own digital advertising platform. (See Arris Ends Dream of Set-Top Software Riches (link is external).) — Author Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader --- For the full article, visit (link is external)
  • Blog

    Safeguards needed for Big Data targeting in political campaigns

    Data-Driven micro targeting shaping how we decide issues and elected officials

    Resonate’s HI-RES Intelligence-to-Activation platform enhances your understanding of your audience with unique insights about their motivations, values, media consumption habits and behaviors–to illuminate why they make the decisions they make–or don’t make. Then Resonate puts your message in front of them – wherever they are online. Statistics: 58% of consumers are more likely to be influenced by their friends and family 47% of consumers are less likely to think immigration strains the US economy 41% of consumers are more likely to believe that the country is on the wrong track Resonate's solution helps you engage voters based on issue and policy positions, candidate platforms and personal values that impact their voting decisions. Leveraging these motivations – the reasons why people act – yields substantially better results than traditional demographic, behavioral, contextual and voter file targeting methods. Political and advocacy campaigns no longer need to rely solely on demographic and behavioral targeting to reach the right audience. Resonate layers motivations and values onto traditional audience building. Campaigns engage with audiences based on a combination of over 7,000 attributes. From education to GOTV, Resonate engages supporters and persuadable voters based on the specific issues that matter to them. They target, deliver, and optimize your ads based on our ground-breaking methodology. Resonate provides comprehensive measurement and reporting on both traditional web metrics (including click through rates or video completion rates) and effectiveness metrics such as lift in favorability or intent to vote. Connect with the right audiences during every phase of your campaign 1: Educate: Resonate helps campaigns of all types amplify its presence. From candidate name recognition to ballot initiatives, your message will be seen. 2: Persuade: Only Resonate can help you reach persuadables based on the issues they care about most. Whether you need to get your message in front of people who have not yet formed their opinion or reinforce your stance with supporters, you can be sure your ad dollars are being spent wisely. 3: Mobilize: Ultimately, winning any campaign is decided by the actions of your supporters. From traditional GOTV to signing petitions and attending rallies, Resonate connects you with the audience most likely to act. --- View Resonate's case studies by visiting (link is external)
  • Mattel, Inc., the leading global childhood play and development company, today announced a new strategic partnership with Alibaba Group, the world's largest online and mobile commerce company. Leveraging Mattel's iconic brands and expertise in play as well as Alibaba's wealth of data and insights into the Chinese consumer base, the expanded partnership aims to re-shape the way parents in China think about play. Alibaba Group's unrivaled scale and data-driven approach to consumer insights will enable Mattel to tailor their market and product strategy. With more than 440 million active buyers across its e-commerce platforms, Alibaba is helping Mattel meet the ever-growing and changing needs of Chinese consumers with a strategic omni-channel approach spanning online-to-offline (O2O). As part of this expanded collaboration, Mattel will not only be marketing and selling to China via Alibaba's B2C marketplace (link is external), but also leveraging the company's media ecosystem to develop and promote learning resources and educational content – inspired by Mattel's beloved brands and characters – to help parents and families get the most out of play. Additionally, Mattel will be working with Alibaba's A.I. Lab to develop new and innovative products, designed to aid child development through the use of cutting-edge technology and smart, interactive learning. "Play has a tremendous impact on a child's cognitive, social and emotional growth," said Margo Georgiadis, CEO of Mattel. "By combining Mattel's unmatched expertise in childhood learning and development, with Alibaba's immense reach and unique consumer insights, our goal is to help parents in China raise children to be their personal best." "Alibaba empowers leading global brands to digitally transform their businesses and address the fast-changing Chinese consumer landscape," said Daniel Zhang, CEO of Alibaba Group. "We look forward to supporting Mattel's growth through our robust data and commerce technology infrastructure, which will help to elevate their overall business from product development to brand-building to rural penetration for this unique and massive market." Ms. Georgiadis added, "The multi-billion dollar toy category in China is highly fragmented, with tremendous potential for growth. Working with Alibaba, we see a terrific opportunity to develop and lead the category." Mattel and Alibaba will begin product development immediately, with initial availability planned for mid-2017. --- For the full article visit (link is external)
  • After a long and fair rulemaking process during most of 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted ground-breaking privacy rules (link is external) last October protecting the personal information of broadband Internet service customers. Both industry—including powerful phone and cable companies that provide the majority of broadband connections—as well as consumer, civil rights, and privacy groups, had ample opportunity to make their case—which they did. Public-interest and grass-roots organizations used their limited resources to advocate for consumers’ basic right to access and use the Internet (via Internet service providers—ISPs) in private, without having their information gathered. Industry and its allies tried to oppose or water down attempts to give their customers meaningful privacy protections. Despite a significant power imbalance between the parties, the process resulted in rules that give consumers and citizens legal rights that many assumed are already theirs to enjoy, but which they, in fact, had been denied until this historic broadband privacy rule making. Prior to the Privacy Order, it was not since the 1998 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act that U.S. regulators affirmatively granted consumers meaningful online privacy rights on this scale. While the Federal Trade Commission has played an important role as the lead agency in protecting the privacy and data-security rights of U.S. consumers for a large section of the U.S. economy, it has not enacted any policy that that would restore the power imbalance between consumers and large corporations in our ever-growing commercial surveillance world. The FCC broadband privacy rule, however, aims to provide the public with some fairness and balance to the lopsided relationship between the average individual and data-insatiable powerful ISPs. The FCC rules set limits on what Internet service providers may do with the highly sensitive data that they have already collected in the course of providing internet service (a service for which consumers already pay dearly with their pocket books). “Sensitive” information includes precise geo-location, financial information, health information, children’s information, social security numbers, web browsing history, app usage history and the content of communications. The most important aspect of the rule requires Internet service providers to obtain an opt-in consent for the use or sharing of such information for purposes other than providing broadband service, such as billing. What this means is that unless you ask me and I give permission, what I do on the Internet is off-limits for ISPs to monetize. The final rule emphasized the distinction between sensitive and non-sensitive data. The FCC felt it had to accommodate industry pressure to follow the FTC’s framework, which is based on that agency’s very limited authority to protect consumer privacy. Advocates and the FCC recognized that the distinction between sensitive and non-sensitive information is less and less meaningful in an age when companies can use data analytics and modeling to infer the most personal traits of an individual without ever collecting “sensitive data.” What is particularly noteworthy is that the new FCC rule grappled with the concepts of what kinds of uses and sharing are permissible and which are not. The rule, in fact, makes it clear that it is precisely the unexpected and unrelated or secondary uses of data that a company must first obtain permission to use before it can do so. In other words, each of us has a right to control the collection, use, and exploitation of data about us. This important and basic human right was finally made into a legal right with the 2016 FCC Privacy Order. It should stay that way, even with a new leadership at the Commission. The benefits that accrue to each of us individually and as members of a group, as well as to society at large, from this new policy safeguard, are manifold and invaluable to an equitable, just, and fair democracy and marketplace. Without an opt-in, there would be no limitations placed on how ISPs can use the data about us. As we all know too well, the existing individual privacy self-management model in the U.S., which typically offers only an opt-out, has proven to be ineffective in putting limits on corporate data uses and sharing, although the public expresses an increasing opposition to these corporate surveillance practices. Not only do the FCC privacy rules affirm the basic individual right to have one’s privacy protected and individual autonomy preserved, the requirement to obtain an affirmative consent prior to any secondary uses by ISPs is equally critical in guarding against profiling and group discrimination. The profiling of an individual, or the association of an individual with a class of people, requires very little information about the person who is being profiled. So, the less data collected about others like me, the less likely that I will be profiled. While not perfect, and just a small safeguard in this world of ubiquitous and constant data surveillance, this rule helps to guard us against the classifying and predictive analytics that often represent a biased, discriminatory, and entrenched inequality that incorporate past inequities into decisions about the future. Given that the rule identifies information about children as sensitive data, it is also important in protecting the fundamental rights of children to enjoy privacy and freedom from age-inappropriate commercial exploitation. The use of data about us as consumers and citizens during the 2016 elections, moreover, should serve as an important reminder of how pervasive technologies of data surveillance analytics have become. Political campaigns and special interests have unfettered access to commercial data and marketing practices designed to influence how we think, act, and vote, but there are no regulations or corporate practices that aim to curtail these developments’—unless, that is, we hold onto the FCC broadband privacy rule now and build on it in the future. Given the ominous start of Ajit Pai to his FCC chairmanship—he has already used his “delegated authority” to undermine important communications rights—we are now facing the very real likelihood that the new chairman will do away with the rule that was adopted by the previous FCC Commission. (CDD recently filed an Opposition to Petitions for a Stay of the Federal Communications Commission’s Broadband Privacy Order in response to a filing by a coalition of industry associations and interests.) Similarly, there is a real risk that Congress might repeal the rule via the Congressional Review Act, which would prevent the FCC from revisiting broadband privacy rules at all in the future. But Americans want to have control over their lives and data, and want to be able to make decisions unencumbered by powerful corporate interests. Thus the FCC and Congress must preserve the privacy rights of broadband internet customers! --- Written by Katharina Kopp, Deputy Director, Director of Policy for Center for Digital Democracy
  • Blog

    These digital coupons may give you a discount, but track and target you

    Press Release "Quotient Launches Quotient Media Exchange, Enhancing Data-Driven Capabilities" by PR Newswire

    Quotient Technology Inc (link is external), a leading digital promotions and media company connecting brands, retailers, and shoppers, today announced the launch of the Quotient Media Exchange (QMX), a data-driven solution where advertisers can leverage Quotient's reach and exclusive data to serve targeted media across the web and mobile. QMX incorporates purchase data from retailers across the Quotient Retailer iQ (link is external) network, allowing the company to reach a national audience or a single retailer's customers. QMX combines in-store transaction data with online engagement and purchase-intent data from Quotient's flagship brand, (link is external), and the company's thousands of publishing partners. Quotient's forward-looking proprietary data allows Quotient to make intelligent predictions about what shoppers are planning to buy, and when they are planning to shop. Through QMX, advertisers can run digital media campaigns targeted at consumer segments based on category purchase, brand or store affinity, geolocations, or other custom criteria that serve brand objectives. As of today, QMX has a potential audience reach of about 55 million in the U.S. "We're excited to bring an efficient and powerful media solution to the market," said Mir Aamir, President and COO at Quotient. "Now that we have broad retailer reach and scale, QMX is the next logical step as we seek to serve our CPG partners and other advertisers looking for better ways to target consumer segments with effective digital advertising." QMX enables advertisers to serve data-driven media on leading publishers, including social media properties such as Facebook, Quotient's many retailer partner sites, as well as Quotient's vast network of web and mobile properties, including (link is external). Additionally, QMX can integrate media with digital coupons through Quotient's Retailer iQ platform, offering brands a unique ability to combine targeted brand equity messaging with effective consumer conversion to drive sales. In addition to targeted media, QMX enables brands to measure the effectiveness of digital advertising campaigns to drive sales, based on the real-time shopper transaction data from Quotient's retailer partners...We distribute digital coupons and media through a variety of products, including digital printable coupons, digital paperless coupons, coupon codes and card linked offers. We operate Quotient Retailer iQ™, a real-time digital coupon platform that connects into a retailer's point-of-sale system and provides targeting and analytics for manufacturers and retailers. Our distribution network includes our flagship site and app, (link is external), as well as Grocery iQ™, Shopmium™, and our thousands of publisher partners. We serve hundreds of consumer packaged goods companies, such as Clorox, Procter & Gamble, General Mills and Kellogg's, as well as top retailers like Albertsons-Safeway, CVS, Dollar General, Kroger, and Walgreens. --- For the full article, please visit (link is external)
  • Blog

    Growing Threats to Consumer Privacy via Connected TVs

    Expansion of tracking a person on all devices shows why FCC safeguards are needed.

    With the addition addressable TV to the Drawbridge Cross-Device Platform, brands now have the ability to seamlessly reach their audiences across desktop, mobile, connected TV, and now programmatic TV inventory sources, ensuring that both traditional cable subscribers and cord-cutters are exposed to your brand's message on all of their devices. If you're looking to reach TV viewers – not programs – contact us today to learn more. The New TV Landscape Reach Both Types of TV Audiences TV Audience Retargeting Amplify consumers’ TV engagement by reaching them before or after they have received a message via programmatic or connected TV. --- For more informaiton about Drawbrige Resources visit, (link is external)
  • Blog

    With Departure of Consumer Bureau Director Jessica Rich, Future of FTC’s Commitment to Protect the Public Now Uncertain

    Agency Must Demonstrate it will Tackle Growing Privacy and Consumer Threats in the Big Data Era

    Statement of Jeff Chester, Executive Director Center for Digital Democracy February 7, 2017 For more than a quarter-century, Jessica Rich has played a critical leadership role at the Federal Trade Commission. She has made major contributions to the commission’s work on privacy and consumer protection—from leading the development of the rules for the 1998 Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), to conducting a series of recent enforcement actions to curb deceptive and unfair digital marketing practices that harm consumers’ credit and financial well-being. Rich has been particularly instrumental in holding corporate special interests accountable by bringing cases against Volkswagen, Western Union, Herbalife, Google, Amazon, Apple, and other companies. Rich’s departure raises serious concerns about the future of the FTC under the Trump administration. We fear that the agency will retreat from its central consumer-protection mission, by weakening the standards for regulatory safeguards, failing to address new cases brought to the agency, and ignoring the growing arsenal of disturbing Big Data practices that pose far-reaching threats to the public’s privacy, health, and security. At this critical moment, the agency must demonstrate courage and independence, standing up for consumer rights, and resisting any efforts to force a retreat from its public interest mandate.
    Jeff Chester
  • This blog entry by Jeff Chester originally appeared on the Media Policy Blog of the London School of Economics and Political Science here. Influencers (link is external), native advertising (link is external), programmatic targeting (link is external), predictive algorithms (link is external), cross-device identification (link is external), immersive advertising (link is external), hyper-geolocation tracking (link is external), Big Data—all of these terms are part of the lexicon that is at the foundation of our digital lives. Led by Google and Facebook, but embedded deeply throughout the EU and the rest of the world, is a pervasive and far-reaching commercial surveillance complex. The potent and purposeful combination of contemporary consumer data gathering and analytic practices (link is external)—so called “Big Data”—with an ever-growing array of digital marketing practices, has been deployed globally to monitor, analyze, and influence our behaviors. The very digital devices and services we rely on—and which marketers openly claim we are often “addicted” (link is external) to—have been expressly designed to facilitate continuous data collection on all “screens (link is external),” including desktop computers (link is external), mobile (link is external) devices and (now) television (link is external). Information on and about our online and offline lives is fed into supercomputers, (link is external) where it becomes a potent mix of insights and other “actionable” details as our profiles are enhanced with a plethora of added details readily obtained from giant (link is external) one-stop-shopping “marketing data clouds (link is external).” The data collected on individuals (link is external) today include a far-reaching array of information (link is external) on how much money we make; what our health concerns are; what our race or ethnicity (link is external) is; how we spend our time (link is external) online and offline and what we do there; and much more. In milliseconds, decisions are made about our lives. Should we get an ad or offer for a credit card or payday loan? Do we likely have cancer or some other serious illness and are looking for treatments? What video game, film, sporting event ad or editorial content should we receive—whether “fake” (link is external) or from legitimate news sources? The data-driven digital marketing system is now also a major way citizens determine the fate of their nation, such as the vote on “Brexit (link is external)” and the U.S. presidential thumbs to buy, as Facebook puts it—is just one goal. So is using all the clout the digital giants and their allies can muster to get individuals and groups to embrace brands and products as part of their identity. Marketers are increasingly deploying new ways to influence our actions and emotions, including through artificial intelligence (link is external), virtual (link is external) reality, 3D video (link is external), cognitive computing (such as IBM’s Watson (link is external)), and the expanded use of neuromarketing. (link is external) The largely unchecked role that data-driven digital marketing plays in the lives of adults is troubling enough. But we should all be concerned about its impact (link is external) on young people. From undermining their privacy, to encouraging them to buy junk food, “pester” their parents to spend money, promote (link is external) products and brands to their friends by serving as influencers, or stealthily honing (link is external) their identity and social development to promote life-long brand loyalty, marketers and media companies are playing an important role shaping this and future generations of young people. One has only to see how digital marketing is being used by fast food (link is external) companies to peddle (link is external) junk food around the world—despite the youth obesity epidemic—to witness how these forces can undermine a person’s health and potential. Market researchers are constantly studying (link is external) how best to use the Internet, mobile devices, and social media to ensure ads and brand messages play an important—and unavoidable—role in children’s lives. While digital media offer children and adolescents important ways to learn, play, and communicate, they have also unleashed forces that require scrutiny, corporate responsibility, and regulation. One critical safeguard that both children and teens require is to have their privacy rights (link is external) respected. The European Union has a historic opportunity to implement its new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR (link is external)) to ensure that there are meaningful controls for data gathered on youth. (The new law comes into force in May 2018.) Throughout the EU, companies (link is external) are using mobile phones, apps, social media, music streaming channels, YouTube, and more to entice “digital natives” to turn over their information. Data is the new “gold” and in the case of young people, worth some $1.2 trillion yearly in buying and influencing power. But different rules are required for young children versus adolescents. Affirmative consent from a parent or caregiver before data collection can occur from a child is one important safeguard. That’s because the business model of the digital industry significantly depends on a person not being able to effectively “opt-out” of the data profiling process. The default is collection. Google and other digital ad firms make their vast revenues ($178 billion and growing) (link is external) by being able to seamlessly gather our information without having to first ask, or being required to candidly explain what they do. (To see a glimpse of how Google or Facebook really work to help advertisers, see here (link is external) and here (link is external).) By first requiring truly informed consent, the process established by commercial sites (such as “read our privacy policy” if you can find or understand it (link is external)) breaks. As one of the two people (along with Prof. Kathryn Montgomery (link is external)) who led the campaign that resulted in the enactment of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) (link is external) in 1998, I know that in the U.S. the range and nature of digital marketing and data practices that occur once someone turns 13 (and is no longer covered by COPPA’s parental consent requirement) is starkly different than online marketing directed at children. You just don’t see on sites targeting children what you unfortunately discover nearly everywhere else. Although geolocation and other increasingly used tracking data), it’s not enough. The marketing practices designed to elicit the data from children and encourage parents to say “yes” also require public policies. In addition, adolescents require a different approach. While well meaning, the new provision in the GDPR raising the age for required parental consent from 13 to 16 is not the best way (link is external) to address the problem. It’s true that teens are a key target (link is external) for digital marketers in the EU and globally, both for their data and from the marketing opportunities that result. But young people should be able to participate effectively in the digital culture without having to ask permission first. The answer, I believe, is not merely encouraging Member States to vote to roll back the GDPR provision so they can set the age of consent back to 13 (link is external). What’s required is the development of rules that empower teens (link is external) to make their own decisions regarding data collection—in which they have the right to “opt-in” after being told how their data will actually be used. (Such disclosure, if honestly made, would serve as a cautionary tale for many young people, I believe.) The EU and Member States also need to craft an enforceable set of Fair Marketing Practices for the Digital Era that protects children and teens and ensures their rights (link is external) are respected (and which would be useful for the rest of us as well!). As we all know, the online marketplace targeting young people is booming, (link is external) with companies such as Google specifically creating sites (e.g., YouTube Kids (link is external)) where even the youngest (such as five and under) are encouraged to spend time. Growing investment in efforts (link is external) to lure children into digital environments, through games, video, and social media, along with ongoing technological innovation (such as immersive AI environments), will foster an even more ubiquitous and effective online marketing environment. Given their historic commitments to data protection, human rights, and the rights of minors (link is external), the EU and Member States should play a leadership role ensuring that the commercial marketplace engages young people in ways that truly respect their privacy and enhance their well-being.
    Jeff Chester
  • This is a case study of Facebook's work for Judicial Watch illustrating how the media, digital advertising & social networking company uses micro-targeting and tracking for political causes. --- Established in 1994, Judicial Watch (link is external) is a conservative non-partisan government watchdog organization that promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and law. It has filed lawsuits against the last several US presidential administrations. The organization wanted to reach its current supporters, educate them about the work it is currently involved in and encourage them to donate both online and offline. "With advanced matching for Custom Audiences, we can now reach donors who were previously invisible to us on Facebook for a fraction of the cost of other channels. We now have the ability to reach our audience with simultaneous online and offline messaging, which increases lift and our return on ad spend." -John Britten, Digital Director, Judicial Watch Judicial Watch wanted to determine if serving its supporters Facebook ads would make them more likely to donate. The organization used advanced matching for Custom Audiences to find and reach its supporters on Facebook, and encourage them to donate. Advanced matching for Custom Audiences is a targeting tool that allows advertisers to upload multiple data points at once to create an audience on Facebook. Data points include general information like first and last name, zip code, state, country, age and gender, and also email, phone number, mobile advertiser ID and Facebook app user ID. The organization then ran Canvas (link is external) and link ads (link is external) to educate supporters on the work it is doing on the Hillary Clinton email controversy. The interactive ads highlighted the results Judicial Watch has already achieved—including 20 active lawsuits and more than 180 Freedom of Information requests—and encouraged viewers to donate to the organization. Next, Judicial Watch used the conversion lift tool to segment its target audience of supporters into a test and control group. It then used offline events manager, a new tool that allows offline tracking on multiple data points, to evaluate how the ads influenced offline donations via the organization’s direct mail program. Using both tools, Judicial Watch accurately measured the impact of the ads on online and offline donations. Using a variety of Facebook’s advanced advertising tools, Judicial Watch reached and engaged with hundreds of thousands of supporters on Facebook and measured the impact in a statistically significant manner. Its campaign achieved: 40-point increase in in match rate using advanced matching 393,409 supporters reached on mobile 72% of those reached were age 45 and up (a key demographic) Statistically significant increase in offline and online donations among males and those age 65 and up 82% of Canvas viewed on average --- For more information on this case study, visit (link is external)
  • Blog

    Google and Facebook Must Adopt Responsible Practices Regarding Role in Political Campaigns

    Ensuring truthful and transparent messages in the Political Microtargeting & Computational Propaganda Era

    What can marketers learn from the latest data about voter behavior online? Voters make decisions before they're in the booth—by going online. To understand the influence of digital media and online video in the 2016 elections, Google partnered with two leading political consultants to survey primary voters. Here, they discuss what the results mean for marketers. This election cycle, people are increasingly going online before going to the polls. In the first two months of the year, the average registered voter gearing up for Super Tuesday researched the primary election online 85 times. And in just the last year, people have watched over 110M hours of candidate- and issues-related video on YouTube. To learn more about how registered voters educate themselves on the facts, candidates, and issues before the primaries, Google partnered with political consultants Julie Hootkin and Dr. Frank Luntz. As executive vice president at Global Strategy Group (GSG), Julie has been a consultant to members of Congress, governors, and mayors across the United States, and leads her firm's corporate impact practice, which helps businesses navigate the issues of the day. A preeminent pollster, Frank has been featured on major broadcast networks and is the founder of Luntz Global Partners, which consults Fortune 500 companies and political campaigns alike. How is voter behavior in this election cycle different from four years ago? Dr. Frank Luntz: As of this year, people are spending 40% more time online than on TV. Think about that. They know that digital platforms, whether desktop or mobile—from news websites to Google Search to YouTube—deliver far more convenience than traditional media. In political campaigns, television is still powerful, but voters believe it provides too much spin, too many half-truths, and too little detail. Digital empowers voters to find the precise information and facts they're seeking. They decide the search terms, the content, the time, the length, and well, everything else. As one Iowa Republican voter in our focus group said, "We're more informed than we've ever been because of the internet." We also see this in campaigns for consumer products, financial services, and every other category brand marketers care about. Today's voters are spending more time online, almost two hours for every hour spent watching TV. Julie Hootkin: We're living in an on-demand world. With just the touch of a button, we can watch a movie, order groceries, and hail a cab. Just as easily, we can visit a candidate's website, watch a campaign video on YouTube, and fact-check a candidate's position on Google. People are "on" 24/7, thanks in large part to their smartphones. For political campaigns, this means today's voters are more connected than ever before. They are spending more time online, almost two hours for every hour spent watching TV, and they are increasingly relying on their mobile devices to provide them with answers to their questions in real-time. Almost 60% of elections-related searches are now coming from mobile devices, representing nearly 3X growth since the last presidential election cycle. As a result, campaigns—and brands—have an unprecedented number of opportunities to inform, engage, and persuade voters through digital communications. How are voters engaging online vs. with traditional media? Julie Hootkin: Sometimes it feels like we are trapped in a debate that pits traditional against digital, but the truth of the matter is, it's not a zero-sum game. This goes for both political campaigns and brand marketing: TV is good for some things, and digital is good for others. TV continues to play an important role in introducing candidates to voters, particularly early on in the campaign cycle. But as voters move through the decision-making process and Election Day approaches, digital plays an increasingly important role. Why? We heard from a lot of voters that they don't feel like they get the full story from TV—anyone who's ever written an ad script can tell you, you can only fit about 76 words in a 30-second spot. Voters want more, and they find it online (link is external). People will watch content that matters to them—regardless of length. Dr. Frank Luntz: Voters generally dislike and distrust the over-the-top negative political ads they see on television. Don't get me wrong—they still make an impact. But the 30-second or 60-second spot is not as persuasive and informative as it once was. As an Iowa Democratic voter in our focus group put it, "TV ads don't tell you enough. They're a good starting point, but they're not a good way to make a decision." That's why voters turn to search, news sites, candidate sites, and YouTube to find the full, unedited story and unbiased facts for themselves. --- For the full article written by Kate Stanford, Director of YouTube Advertiser Marketing of Google, visit (link is external)
  • Blog

    Political Campaigns Transform TV into Targeting Tool for Political Campaigns

    Further loss of privacy, autonomy with granular data targeting

    Deep Root Analytics, a leading media analytics company that creates multi-sourced media data platforms for television audience targeting and ad monitoring, announced today that it has teamed up with D2 Media Sales to enable political & advocacy advertisers to target households using proprietary audience segments. Deep Root Analytics has created 26 proprietary segments of voters based on partisan or issue affinity and has pre-matched these segments to D2’s advertising platform, providing addressable TV advertising to nearly 22 million DIRECTV and DISH satellite households. “Today’s political and advocacy advertisers want the effectiveness and efficiency that comes with targeting very specific audiences with TV advertising,” noted Deep Root Analytics CEO Brent McGoldrick. “At Deep Root Analytics, we are focused on ‘bringing big data to big media.’ So, we are thrilled to work with D2 Media Sales and access their best-in-class addressable TV platform to enable our clients to communicate with nearly 22 million DIRECTV & DISH customers.” “We’re excited to bring addressable TV targeting capabilities to Deep Root Analytics clients,” said Mark Failla, Director of Political Ad Sales at D2 Media Sales. “Our targeting technology can serve campaign messages to the most data-qualified voter households, as defined by the advertiser, each time, instead of leaving it to chance.” The proprietary segments created by Deep Root Analytics and made available for addressable advertising via D2 Media Sales include: Reluctant Republicans Disaffected Democrats Swing Voters Senior Swing Voters Young Swing Voters Women Swing Voters Blue Collar Hispanic Persuasion Influentials GOP GOTV GOP Primary 2nd Amendment Voters Jobs Voters Free Trade Energy Voters Anti-Terrorism Immigration Social Conservatives Libertarian Voters Fiscal Conservatives Education Voters Health Care Voters High Disposable Income Minimum Wage Ballot Initiative Pro-Marijuana Ballot Initiative Anti-Marijuana Ballot Initiative The segments created by Deep Root Analytics do not utilize customer data provided by DIRECTV & DISH. --- For more information visit (link is external)