Hot Takes: The Banning Surveillance Advertising ActAlan Wolk27 Jan 2022Alan Wolk27 Jan 2022Last week, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced the Banning Surveillance Advertising Act, a wide-ranging piece of privacy legislation that would seek to prohibit advertising networks and facilitators from using personal data to target advertisements, with the exception of broad location targeting (e.g., targeting specific zip codes or municipalities.) The bill also prohibits advertisers from targeting ads based on protected class information, such as race, gender, and religion, and from using personal data purchased from data brokers. Read on to see industry leaders’ thoughts on the bill and its ultimate effects.
Last week, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Representatives Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced the Banning Surveillance Advertising Act, a wide-ranging piece of privacy legislation that would seek to prohibit advertising networks and facilitators from using personal data to target advertisements, with the exception of broad location targeting (e.g., targeting specific zip codes or municipalities.) The bill also prohibits advertisers from targeting ads based on protected class information, such as race, gender, and religion, and from using personal data purchased from data brokers.
The bill was predictably not well received by members of the digital advertising community, with the IAB slamming the “devastating effects” the bill would have on the digital advertising industry.
Reaction was less severe in the television industry, where many observers thought the industry might actually be able to benefit from stricter privacy rules.
While TVREV Thought Leaders Circle had a variety of opinions on the potential fallout of the bill, one universal comment was that the bill is just a proposal, an opening volley in the upcoming privacy wars, if you will and that much would likely change before (and if) it became a law.
Michael Tuminello, Vice President, Strategy at Mediaocean looked at the key reasons why the TV industry was unlikely to suffer the same repercussions from the proposed bill as players like Google and Facebook, while advocating for a more transparent system that served the needs of buyers, sellers and consumers equally.
"I’m not sure which is more dramatic – the name of the Banning Surveillance Advertising Act, or its potential impact on the TV industry, but it’s probably the former. The bulk of TV and video advertising is not specifically targeted, and marketers can get a long way toward audience targeting with geographic and content signals alone, if it comes to that. In addition, the emerging major players in streaming TV – TV OS owners like Samsung, platforms like Roku, and content giants like NBCU and Disney – would likely operate under less scrutiny than the historical tech giants even under the law. There are a number of reasons for this:
• There is a lot more competition in the TV space compared to the couple of players dominating online advertising.
• TV advertising will be harder to police.
• Many TV providers have paid subscribers. They can dial back plans to profit off of audience data as needed.
• TV ads are more expensive and harder to buy.
The newly recognized need to protect society as a whole from negatively impactful uses of consumer data is one of many reasons that the next generation of adtech needs to be defined by solutions that are built to serve buyers, sellers, and consumers. Such coordination will be needed to serve the needs and protect the interests of all three constituencies. We believe Mediaocean is in a unique position to build the required media-neutral infrastructure that supports the consolidation of a too-fragmented ecosystem, as well as the required transparency to ensure the industry can put accountability on an equal footing with economic success."
Our TVREV take is that the bill is meant to highlight some of the more egregious privacy violations that vendors like Google and Facebook routinely engage in (scanning email) while taking advantage of the national mood that paints Big Tech as evil.
The television industry is largely immune from this, as targeted TV advertising, or CTV advertising, to be exact, is still in its nascency. That said, the industry needs to be conscious (and conscientious) about transparency and choosing solutions that do not raise potential privacy concerns. Contextual advertising seems to be an excellent vehicle for this, targeting the types of consumers who watch certain genres of programming, rather than the consumers themselves.
To wit, a recent study from Hub Research noted that consumers felt that targeted advertising on Discovery+ was less bothersome than on other platforms. Our suspicion is that is because Discovery’s home and food themed shows attract advertisers whose products are aligned with that sort of content, and so everything feels of a piece.
One final note: whatever happens to this particular bill, you can be sure that this will not be the last attempt to more strictly police the online advertising industry.
Read the full comments at TVRev
By Alan Wolk
Originally published by TVRev