Smart TV Makers' ACR Data: More 'Walled Gardens'? It Can Get Lonely

Complaints about walled gardens of media data keep growing -- beyond the obvious poster children, Google and Facebook.

TV set manufacturers' automatic content recognition (ACR) data, from Samsung, LG, Vizio, for example, are in the sights of TV advertisers and media agency pros. And Adam Gerber, executive director, U.S. investment strategy at GroupM, wants changes.

Gerber says those three ACR providers need to “pool” their data to make any headway -- perhaps, some might believe, even standardize stuff so TV advertisers can compare and contrast. If not, growth will be harder to come by.

Media buyers have long wanted media data-management ease -- and of course, transparency -- when it comes to cross-media platform deals.



Many media sellers talk up their platform (and or measurement service) being the single source: Major examples include One Platform from NBCUniversal and Nielsen One and Roku OneView.

We see the need for this. But for competitive big TV set makers this would be a big ask. For example, could "clean" room efforts help protect the first-party data that each of these TV set manufacturers control -- when "pooling" data?

TV makers will point to those other big flowering gardens and think: “Wait. They have been incredibly successful, all the while by being 'walled'."

If there are lessons to be learned, one only needs to take a view of the seemingly slower-moving addressable TV market, where different operations and measurement sources make for even more labor-intensive tasks for media buyers.

TV set makers with ACR do have all that "census"-level data as a selling point -- everything coming off the "glass." Panels begone!

Okay, fine. But they still will have issues surrounding weak persons-level data.

Many believe there are other benefits. That ACR data can be used as a cross-platform tool -- a bridge between both streaming and linear TV, especially when it comes to using a home's IP address. Privacy issues getting closer?

Jane Clarke, chief executive officer/managing director of CIMM, the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement, said to AdExchanger last year: "One of the weaknesses of smart TV data is you can't get it all -- there's been a pullback in the licensing of that data for measurement purposes."

Here are some of the parameters to consider while we muse about a big national TV ACR data effort:

Samsung Ads: 42 million opted-in devices; Vizio, 19 million smart TV opted-in devices; and LG Ads Solutions, 20 million smart TV addressable U.S. homes. A rough potential of 81 million smart TV homes/devices in the making. That would be a good start.

Still, each of these companies put up strong numbers -- especially against legacy TV measurements -- so much so that each believes they can go it alone.

But remember the lyrics from the 1960s song "One" written by Harry Nilsson, made famous by Three Dog Night: "One is the loneliest number....beep, beep, beep, beep."

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