As if the Internet TV space is not crowded enough with Joost and Babelgum, Hewlett-Packard has decided to jump on the band wagon and join forces with Dave Networks (a white label IPTV provider) to ship a P2P-based Internet TV service system with their notebooks – to be known as Next.TV.
Its being launched as a Vista-based software update that will eventually be pre-installed on all HP PCs, however, there are plans for a desktop application for non-HP users in the pipeline too.
The service will be free-to-view and supported by targeted advertising.
The CEO of Dave Networks, Rex Wong, the former CEO of Applied Semantics (later Google Adsense), plans to launch a “snoop-and-serve” contextual video advertising service that has got to be called into question.
“We will be using the same technology used by[US] Homeland Security to monitor [telephone] chatter. Audio keywording will allow us to contextually figure out where to sell ads and to place more than just pre- and post-roll ads.”
With a technology platform such as this pre-installed on the leading worldwide vendor for home computers, the implications for the uptake of this could ensure a huge footfall for an invasion of people’s homes, tantamount to allowing a government spy to permanently come and live with you in a way that James Bond with all his charms could only dream of.
Shaken ‘and’ stirred? I am…
However, a recent survey undertaken in the U.S. conducted by Nielsen/Netratings may suggest public backlash may not be as huge as one would expect.
The study has found that the ‘majority of U.S. web users feel that they see too many ads and wouldn’t mind having those ads better targeted to their needs’. As opposed to being served ads, 91% of those over-exposed to advertising would prefer using a search engine, given a choice.
David Reeve, manager of corporate marketing for WebVisible, who wrote the survey questions, says:
“We thought it would be the other way around… but it emphasizes that having a quality web site is essential to capture and convert more business.”
In a nation not exactly backward in coming forward over privacy concerns, I have to wonder if the connection between targeted advertising and user tracking has not been linked in most people’s minds. There is clearly a need for advertising relevance, and indeed there are ethical methods, but the basic right to not be tracked needs to be defended before we all become slaves to the system we helped to create.