Campaigns can now see what you watch on TV. It’s changing everything

Campaigns can now see what you watch on TV. It’s changing everything

NOTUS reports:

Political aide turned data guru Jesse Contario works in the shadows. His employer, MiQ, will never be mentioned at the end of a campaign ad, and it won’t show up on the disclosures campaigns must post to keep the public abreast of their work.

Yet Contario works with some of the biggest campaigns in the country — and his firm might know a lot about you. MiQ specializes in harvesting data, including for political campaigns, and it increasingly is pulling data from streaming TV to help campaigns hit viewers with the right messages at the right times.

To hear data experts tell it, the smart TV revolution was supercharged by COVID-19, when consumers stuck inside rushed to upgrade their televisions. Now, streaming television is quickly becoming instrumental to campaigning, promising politicians the ability to reach more voters and target them with highly specific ads.

“People are spending more time with streaming than broadcast or cable television,” Contario said. “And the user isn’t discerning between whether they’re watching broadcast TV or streaming. They’re sitting on the couch, watching ads on the big screen in their living room.”

But campaigns’ ability to peer into the television habits of voters alarms privacy advocates, who say voters are not properly informed about what’s on their television.

“Television now watches us more than we watch it,” said Jeff Chester, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Digital Democracy. “The same kinds of strategies used to track and target individuals in order to sell advertising popularized by Google and Meta have been purposely and deliberately exported to the television.” [Continue reading…]

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