Cable TV and Your Privacy: Time to Address Looming Threats

It’s not just the cable television industry’s position on network management [network neutrality] that is a problem. So too is its expanding use of customer data for profiling, analysis, and targeting. Project Canoe [the cable initiative on targeted interactive advertising] is only one part of cable’s data-driven plans. As cable trade CED reports, the industry has geared up to reap the rewards from its extensive data mining services. Here’s are some excerpts: “Add to the marketing mix a mountain of data and metadata generated by sophisticated billing systems and third-party data companies, and it’s little wonder why the marketing of cable versus the competition is changing dramatically…“We’ve built 10-12 statistical/propensity models of people who would likely take a service, and we are refining that technique. We’ve seen a very significant increase in take rates” [explained Tim Doolittle, vice president of marketing science for Charter Communications]…”Data is captured through the billing system and cross-tabulated with marketing efforts” [noted Steve Brookstein, executive vice president of operations for Bresnan Communications]…they need data they can understand to build marketing models,” said Chris McDonald, president of Pluris Inc., a leading provider of data organization and analytics.

That data, he maintains, is coming from a variety of sources such as billing systems and third parties…The addition of emerging data points, such as data coming from the Internet, e-mail and customer service online, is extremely valuable, McDonald says.

“It’s valuable data knowing how customers are behaving.” [our emphasis]

source: Fighting for The Money. Craig Kuhl. October 1, 2008

Author: jeff

Jeff Chester is executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. A former journalist and filmmaker, Jeff's book on U.S. electronic media politics, entitled "Digital Destiny: New Media and the Future of Democracy" was published by The New Press in January 2007. He is now working on a new book about interactive advertising and the public interest.

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