As Interactivity Approaches, Don’t Forget Opt-In Admonition

ATSC 3.0 offers many new possibilities for broadcaster that television stations haven’t to date had at their disposal.

Many fall under the large umbrella known as interactivity. Some of the more obvious possibilities for interactivity include:

  • Delivering custom local news, weather and sports tailored to the preferences of the individual viewer or household.
  • Ditto for commercials based on demographics, desires and interests.
  • Delivery of program dialog in languages spoken by a relatively small number of people in a market.
  • Disseminating emergency evacuation instructions, directions and maps as part of AWARN-enhanced emergency alerting; and many others.

While reporting today’s Tech Thursday article, “3.0 Watermark Test Is Foundation For Future,” I interviewed Advanced Television Systems Committee President Mark Richer about ATSC 3.0 interactivity.

While ATSC develops standards, it doesn’t ordinarily make business recommendations to broadcasters about how they deploy the services supported by those standards.

However, Richer made the point during our interview that “we believe all these [interactive] services will be opt-in.”

That’s a word to the wise in my book, especially after reading “How To Stop Your Smart TV From Spying On You” by Brian Barrett on the Wired website.

If TV stations hope to get off on the right foot with viewers as they enter this new era of broadcasting made possible by 3.0 where internet connectivity is the gateway to important, new services and revenue opportunities, there can be no future in sneaking up on viewers and collecting data without their consent.

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