TV maker Vizio recently filed for an IPO. One of the interesting bits of info to come from the filing was Vizio’s ambitions to build a data services business:
'Our Inscape data services capture, in real time, up to 100 billion anonymized viewing data points each day from our over 8 million VCUs [Vizio Connect Units aka Smart TVs]. Inscape collects and stores data regarding most content displayed on VCU television screens, including content from cable and satellite providers, streaming devices and gaming consoles. Inscape provides highly specific viewing behavior data on a massive scale with great accuracy, which can be used to generate intelligent insights for advertisers and media content providers and to drive their delivery of more relevant, personalized content through our VCUs.'
Vizio and other smart TV makers are in great position to get a holistic picture of what consumers are viewing from a variety of sources (at least on their TVs). It’s something Nielsen can’t currently do and a company like Apple or Google can’t do on their own.
They better make sure that data is fully anonymized and stored securely, though. I imagine many of us probably wouldn’t want our complete viewing habits leaked on the internet.