We’re living in a new golden age of television, and it’s all thanks to data. Television, once a waning medium, has had a complete resurgence due to the growth of streaming and the omnipresence of video across devices. Consumers can’t get enough of the technology, and streaming TV services are now available in more than half of U.S. households and growing by an incredible rate of 29% annually, seven times cable’s growth of 3%.

With Growth Can Come… Government

Providing opening remarks at a recent FTC workshop exploring Smart TVs and over-the-top streaming services, Director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Jessica Rich lauded the benefits to consumers which smart TVs provide. Rich quickly followed with caution about the need for privacy in this medium.

DMA’s SVP of Advocacy Emmett O’Keefe advanced the point that consumer privacy is already protected by a combination of industry self-regulation and existing legal protections. “Next-Generation TV is simply an evolution of marketing and should proceed under the same self-regulatory framework,” said O’Keefe. “This same industry self-regulatory framework is more flexible at adapting to innovations in technology than any legal framework.”

The benefits of self-regulation are reinforced by DMA’s Data Standards 2.0 initiative, which is currently bringing together companies from across the ecosystem to update the standards that govern the marketing industry’s accountability. Data Standards 2.0 will tackle new high-profile and emergent data issues such as over-the-top services, smart TVs, augmented reality and the Internet of Things.

The Niche-ification of Television

As streaming audiences are divides across services and programs, marketers and advertisers are able to reach these highly-segmented audiences with incredibly relevant messages. “It used to be that a program with a small audience wasn’t very valuable,” observed Josh Chasin, Chief Research Officer for comScore. “All of a sudden, a piece of inventory has different value to different advertisers.”

The detailed measurement abilities through streaming have kept programs on the air for longer, or even brought them back from cancellation. “Do we have any fans of Arrested Development or The Mindy Project?” asked Ashwin Navin, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Samba TV. “These were both shows that were cancelled by broadcast, but picked back up by streaming services. With more data, we have better and smarter investment on content development and more commitment to this programming.”

next-generation-tv-reportDue to the rise of streaming services, consumers also face lower costs to access content and receive the ability to access content on demand. These benefits are laid out in a new DMA report on Next-Generation TV, submitted last week to the FTC.

To inform its members and policymakers on the policy considerations around Next-Generation TV, DMA completed and just released “Next-Generation TV: An Overview of the Existing Landscape and a Recommended Approach for Cultivating Continued Innovation in the Ecosystem”. The report breaks down the range of consumer and economic benefits of Next-Gen TV and discusses a recommended approach to help ensure the continued cultivation of innovation in the Next-Gen TV ecosystem. The white paper is available and complimentary to DMA members.

“Technology continues to grow and evolve at a rapid pace, and DMA will remain active on these issues,” said O’Keefe. “Continued engagement with government agencies and through industry-self regulation will ensure responsible data-driven marketing can flourish on Next-Generation TV.”

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