In a key vote Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to allow television broadcasters to adopt Next Generation TV technology, clearing the way for highly targeted TV ads along the lines of those currently prevalent on the Internet.
The Internet-protocol-based technology “will enable advances such as ultra high-def broadcasts and mobile viewing,” MediaPost reports. “But the FCC’s move is controversial for a few reasons, including that it will also allow broadcasters to mesh some online data with TV viewing data for ad-targeting purposes.”
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is quoted in the report saying: “Next Gen TV has the potential to bring a wide range of benefits to American consumers. Through expanded service offerings and new features, Next Gen TV should enhance the free, over-the-air television service that many Americans rely on, and make it a stronger competitor to pay-TV services.”
Consumer advocates opposed the move on the grounds that it jeopardizes privacy by enabling over-the-air TV broadcasters to do widespread data mining, MediaPost notes.
Harold Feld, senior vice president at the advocacy group Public Knowledge, said: “The FCC Order does nothing to protect consumer privacy,” adding that the order “primarily benefits Sinclair Broadcasting at the expense of consumers.”
“David Smith, executive chairman at Sinclair Broadcast Group, reportedly boasted last week that Next Gen TV will enable the company to compile ‘perfect data’ about consumers,” the story reports, quoting Smith saying: “We’ll know where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing — just like you do now, just like everybody does now, the Internet does, or Google, or a Facebook. We will have perfect data all the time.”