Odds are, your TV app tracks you using a system from ratings company Nielsen. Rather than hiding from the trackers, we should embrace the benefits they offer.
Business Insider just ran an in-depth article about a TV industry in turmoil. It’s very inside baseball, but it’s worth the long read.
In a nutshell, the traditional TV ratings system doesn’t work anymore.
Advertising in the Dark
Back in the day, a ratings company like Nielsen could count on the nuclear family gathering around the TV to watch Joanie Loves Chachi. Not anymore. Cord-cutting and the appification of everything means Nielsen’s old approach tracks a shrinking and aging share of the population.
That leaves TV networks and advertisers in the dark about how to spend their money, what ads work and how to adapt to a changing society.
Embrace the Trackers
Why should that matter to cord-cutters? Just watch a 30-minute on-demand TV episode. How many times did the show break for an ad? Even worse, how many times did you have to watch the same boring ad for Verizon?
We have to watch so many ads — and so many of the same ad — because the streaming services can’t charge as much as a TV network. The lack of data is a big reason for it.
Advertisers are still stuck in the old way of doing things. They need to see objective data on who cord-cutters are and what they’re watching. Only then will they buy more spots from streaming services.
So when you see that Nielsen disclaimer, don’t stress out about your app tracking you. Neilsen data will make life as a cord-cutter easier. Besides, we’ve already sold our digital souls to Facebook and Google anyway.
Chris Casper is a former tech industry product manager who escaped from California for New Mexico. Now he writes about science and tech while searching for the perfect green chile sauce.