Cablevision Systems, a well-known cable company based out of New York, is beginning to analyze data about income, ethnicity, gender or whether the homeowner has children or pets in 500,000 homes in Brooklyn, the Bronx and some New Jersey areas.
According to Cablevision, they will market specific ads to different households but the advertisers will not know the names of the customers. Some of the ways that different advertisements could surface includes having a Cadillac Escalade ad given to a high-class person, while giving a Chevrolet to lower class incomes.
Other possibilities include giving advertisements in Spanish to Hispanic people groups and marketing video games to households with children.
Cablevision's goal is to expand the project to 3.1 million subscribers.
I think this is a genius idea of Cablevision. This is the dream of every advertiser, giving your advertisement directly to the people who are most likely to buy your product.
On the other hand, Cablevision has not informed their consumers that they are invading their privacy and selling their demographical information, which is very sneaky. Still, the information (such as ethnicity, children in household, income, gender, and other data) being provided is all in the public records anyways, by means of tax returns, a census, and any other number of government forms.
It will be interesting to see how this plays out, I would much prefer to only see advertisements on TV that relate to me. I know that I will not buy a flat-screen TV or a nice car, but I would probably buy cheap food or clothes from JC Penney.