Big Brother Is Watching You Watch TV

There’s a new world order for advertising and data is its king. Advertisers are hooked on any and all data regarding your TV viewing and web habits. I’ve been watching this trend, trying to unearth growth opportunities.

TVision Insights, a technology startup based in New York, has found a way to monitor how engaged you are while watching TV. Demand is booming for the company’s services, which help marketers and advertisers more precisely create campaigns for clients.

TVision Insights employs the camera in a Microsoft Kinect device, along with software that monitors and analyzes your facial expressions. Are you folding laundry during your program, or during a commercial leaving the room for a snack? Recorded and noted. Did you smile during that sappy Budweiser commercial when the lost pup finds its way home? Recorded and noted.

The old days of advertisers blindly buying spots on the highest rated Nielsen shows are over. Despite employing antiquated techniques, industry stalwart Nielsen has held onto its top spot as a gauge of television viewership. Nielsen entices a random sample of households to install a meter on their televisions. These meters record what channel a TV is tuned to and how long it is on. Viewers are also asked to maintain a manual diary of what television shows they watched.

This method is flawed in many ways. For starters, the Nielsen method overstates most viewing habits. A viewer leaving the room or falling asleep during a show and even viewers multi-tasking while “watching” TV still contribute as viewed time.

TVision’s proprietary software measures factors much more important than the time a television is left on during a particular show. It measures viewer engagement. By monitoring eye movements and facial expressions, TVision is able to determine how intently a consumer is experiencing the show.

A consumer who eagerly anticipates the next scene of a television drama and remains on the couch watching during a commercial is a much better target for an advertiser than a viewer who is surfing on his iPad while the show runs in the background.

In a similar vein, the effectiveness of ads on the web used to be measured by how many eyeballs visited particular websites. Now ad agencies can measure how many people clicked on their ad, how many people who saw the ad later Googled their product and (this is the Holy Grail) how many consumers actually purchased their product after viewing an ad on the web.

Not so long ago, the idea of a computer monitoring your every move was considered a fearsome invasion of privacy. Fast forward to 2017 when consumers are becoming increasingly accustomed to marketers following their trail of viewing habits. Viewers are becoming more comfortable with their viewing and purchasing data being anonymously recorded and analyzed in exchange for more robust content.

I found one company that offers unique software to help advertisers measure in granular detail the online behavior of consumers. I added the stock to my Profit Catalyst Portfolio and I’m happy to report that shares have gained almost 20% year to date and 31% since inclusion.

Advertisers chasing analytics is just one “growth catalyst” that I’m closely following. To learn my strategy for profiting from breaking trends, subscribe to Profit Catalyst Alert.