SmartTV Quickly Becoming Annoying TV

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SmartTVOn the heels of the privacy concerns Samsung now getting attention for unwanted advertising popping up while viewers are watching their TV. Samsung has an app from a third-party that puts pop-up ads and customers with the SmartTV are finding the intrusion annoying.

These ads offer a call to action and continue to pop up until there is a response. That means that until the SmartTV viewer signs up for whatever is being offered, the ad continues to interrupt what they are watching.

This technology of inserting ads into streaming content comes from a third-party. The idea behind the app is to allow people to click on the ad and make a purchase or take advantage of an offer. This is great if the product or service is appealing to the viewer, if not, the SmartTV quickly becomes annoying when trying to enjoy a program.

In Australia a Pepsi ad stopped programming and ran an ad with no sound. Samsung Electronics Australia recognized this as an issue and said that it was due to an error that happened with a recent software update and was not planned for the Australian market. They fixed the issue and apologized.

In the U.S., a Dunkin’ Donuts ad took over the screen for one customer. While watching football on a Sunday, suddenly the image of the football game receded to a small window, a large sidebar appeared along with a pop-up ad urging the viewer to take advantage of a special offer via the remote control.

This viewer contacted Dunkin’ Donuts main office the following day and was told that the pop-up ads are part of a cooperative effort with Delivery Agent Inc. The company, based in San Francisco, invented the underlying technology for the ShopTV app.

The app, designed to gather information about the viewers in order to focus in on potential buyers, is already loaded on the SmartTV allowing Samsung to get a cut. This is not the first time is has been attempted, other companies have also engaged in ad and revenue sharing agreements. Most people buying a new TV are unaware of the apps included in the purchase, and probably never will unless it interferes with their viewing pleasure.

Nearly 20 million viewers own SmartTVs that provide programming by connecting to the internet and are subject to the pop-up ads interrupting the program they are watching. Using Dunkin’ Donuts as an example; the app works by first detecting that their commercial is on the screen, then brings up the sidebar. The viewer can use the remote control and enter a cellphone number into the sidebar to take advantage of the offer. Then Dunkin’ Donuts sends a text to the phone allowing the viewer to sign up for their loyalty card.

While individual ads can be turned off, the ShopTV app cannot be completely turned off or deleted. To avoid the pop-ups altogether the TV has to be disconnected from the internet. Without the internet there would be no content and the SmartTV would seem a lot less smart and perhaps more annoying to the customer than having the content with pop-up ads.

By Ailey Hines

Photo by Chris Brown – License




The Boston Globe

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