You may have read something about the Samsung 7500 and 8000 series televisions, the ones with a camera installed in them, over the past few days.

The tl;dr summary:

“For Samsung’s 7500 and 8000 series TVs, all you have to do is say “Hi, TV,” when you walk into a room for the TV to turn on and know who’s there.”

“Think of it: The tech means an advertiser or TV programmer could, for the first time, know which members of a Nielsen household are watching a show or an ad. Cisco has even developed a system meant to read facial expressions and determine whether you’re entertained or bored.”

“Many people in the living room are multitasking with other devices. “We’re paying for that,” said Rex Harris, innovations supervisor at SMGX, a unit of ad agency holding company Publicis Groupe. “If you’re looking at other screens, then you’re not paying attention. We would like to know if we’re getting accurate impressions.””


Alright – so – a simple innovation, the webcam, is jumping from the PC/DVR into a TV, and we get a few folks who come out and speculate what it could mean. It all ends up sounding like a 1984 telescreen idea, which, I’m 99% certain, is not what Samsung has/had in mind.

Broadcast isn’t digital.

Repeat: broadcast. isn’t. digital.

This has implications:

  • There is enough inventory for targeted ads and offers in digital because the technology enables the creation of multiple ad treatments at scale. No such technology exists in the broadcast industry.
  • People already effectively segment themselves by TV show preference.
  • On Demand technologies like Netflix, and time shifting technologies like streaming and DVR’s, are already eroding the concentration of key market segments.
  • Plot the S-curve adoption rate of the technologies driving market fragmentation against the adoption of new, Big-Brother enabled telescreens, and see which wins. (Hint: it’s time shifting and on-demand).
  • You’re paying for junk impressions because we’re developing ad blindness, just like we’ve developed banner blindness.

No amount of surveillance is going to change that fact.