Instructor: David Schuff, Section 003

Is your TV watching you?

TV ratings have historically been the number one measure used in determining how successful a show is, and therefore the price to advertise during that show. However, in recent years, marketers are turning to new measures promising to provide information regarding user attention and even emotion. Companies like TVision are using cognitive computing to train facial recognition software to recognize attention and emotion of users watching. These companies will pay samples of people to simply keep a camera on while they watch TV, often the Microsoft Kinect Sensor. The software behind the sensor is constantly learning more and more how to identify emotions through facial expression. This leads to data on what shows viewers are more engaged with while watching, and even what show’s viewers are more engaged with commercials. After all, if you were an advertiser wouldn’t you rather pay to show your commercial to people you know are watching? Many people turn shows on and don’t pay attention, or they leave them on as they do other things around the house. These shows may have high viewership, but the viewers may not actually be paying attention. For example, one study done by TVision showed that Shark Tank ranked amongst the highest in their attention rating. This makes sense because viewers are highly engaged with new business ideas and the suspense of a potential offer. Also, as you can imagine, commercial attention scores during the Super Bowl were very high. The more the AI software learns the more accurate and reliable this data will become. This system could potential replace ratings as the primary source of determining the value of an advertisement slot.

3 Responses to Is your TV watching you?

  • Hi Kevin, thanks for including TVision Insights in your post. We’re indeed changing the future of how TV is measured.

    I’m the Director of Marketing at TVision and also a Temple grad. If you have any questions or are interested in talking to anyone in the company, let me know.

    Best,
    Jonathan Kriner

  • Hi Kevin, I agree with your point that advertisers will be able to benefit from this facial recognition software because it will provide a more accurate assessment of the user’s engagement. Will this data be available to all advertisers or just the ones that pay for it? I can see how this could cause even more competition for commercial airtime.

    Right now I’m taking a GenEd called The Future of Your TV, and in that class, we talked about some features that could be included in TVs in the future. Similar to the technology you mentioned, TVs of the future may include AIs that can detect who has entered the room. Based on this, the TV will automatically pull together suggested programming for that user. I think AI has a lot of growth potential in this market since it’s so consumer driven. Another feature I found interesting was the use of Virtual Reality while watching shows and movies. Just think about how terrifying (yet fun?) it would be to watch a horror movie with that. Thanks for sharing!

  • Hey Kevin, this is a really interesting article you talked about. i actually had no idea this was happening and I think it’s a great idea. It allows for advertisers and marketers to have a better understanding of their data collection. This will provide companies to gain a competitive advantage.

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