Consumers to TV Providers: Careful with My Data

The chart, excerpted from the just-released “TV Services: Pay TV in a Data-Driven World” report, shows consumer perceptions of data collection and use among U.S broadband households. Courtesy of Parks Associates.

One in five internet households report being “highly sensitive” to how TV content providers collect and use data about family members and their activities, according to the latest research from Parks Associates.

Members of these households understand that many companies use this data but the overwhelming majority of them — 80 percent — say they receive little in return for use of their data.

“While traditional companies in the pay-TV marketplace use data in all of their decisions, new companies in the entertainment ecosystem such as Google take data use to the next level,” explained Brett Sappington, senior director of research at Parks. “These companies were built in the age of big data, which allows them to iterate their services, software, user experiences, and content investment decisions much more quickly than traditional players.”

Sappington said traditional pay-TV providers do have one advantage over streaming video providers: “trust.” One-third of U.S. internet households feel online video service providers are “poor protectors of their data” compared with pay-TV providers,” he said.

Parks also found that 42 percent of internet households would have greater confidence in sharing data if they could access a website or app that shows what data is being collected.

Almost 40% of the households surveyed also “strongly believe it is impossible to keep data private from companies whose products they use.”

Noting that the North American pay-TV market will experience a slow decline in subscribers, falling from a market penetration of 79 percent in 2018 to 73 percent by the end of 2023, Sappington said: “Cable and pay-TV companies see the challenges ahead and are exploring new ways of doing business in order to better perform, compete, and attract a new generation of customers.”

Let’s hope this self-reflection leads to greater transparency in the way content providers collect and use consumer data