Samba TV Plans Cryptocurrency To Encourage Users To Share Data

The smart TV recommendation engine Samba TV is planning to launch a cryptocurrency in an effort to incentivize users to share more of their viewership data.

“People don’t really think, when they are watching TV, how valuable their attention is,” Ashwin Navin, CEO of Samba TV, tells Digital News Daily. “When you are watching TV you think about how great the content is, and sometimes you’re interrupted by ads that either frustrate you or you can tolerate based on the quality of the content. I think we will be able to quantify the value of people’s attention, and let them earn something back for it.”

Samba TV’s plan is still in development, but will work something like this: the company will update its suite of apps and incorporate a “wallet” capable of storing digital tokens. Users could opt in and get tokens for using Samba TV’s services, and, if they so choose, that could use the same protocol to transact with third parties and trade their data.

That marketplace for raw data is where Navin thinks the real opportunity lies.

“I think people feel surprised and shocked by how their data is being utilized in this industry,” he says. “Raw data is different than targeted advertising, because it floats around the industry in ways that are not well-understood by people. I think one thing we like about the potential for cryptocurrency is to create more transparency for what data is out there about us and how it is moving across the industry.”

While Samba is developing the protocol and the tokens, Navin says that ultimately the company does not want to become a middleman for data collection.

“We would prefer that people who want to buy raw data do so directly from consumers,” he says, adding that he believes the digital tokens would accomplish that goal.

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