Video Streaming

What you need to know:

Consumers are increasingly using video streaming services in favor of traditional network TV. This trend has led to many large tech and media companies venturing into the space and offering programming and devices that support video streaming.

Most video streaming services have basic personal data on you like name, email and address. In addition, they can (or enable advertising companies to) collect information such as reviews, type of device you’re using, streaming device serial number, IP address, watch history and search queries, among other data point. In addition, if logging in from a web browser, it can also collect information on web history through cookies and other internet tracking mechanisms. Finally, this information can be supplemented with data obtained from other sources, like demographic data from data brokers to create more comprehensive profiles on users for targeted advertising.

This type of data collection is the backbone for a vastly growing advertising channel called “Connected TV” built around displaying video advertising on these video streaming services and devices. One of the largest selling points for this new channel to advertisers is its significant knowledge of each user based on data collection methods that weren’t traditionally available in TVs not connected to the internet. This has given rise to a growing number of tech companies, data brokers and other middlemen tracking and selling data on video streaming users to cash in on this growing industry.

Learn More:

Overview of how video steaming services collect your data and the growing trends behind it

Comprehensive study on how video streaming device manufacturers like Roku and Fire TV collect your data (alternatively, read a short summary of the study here)

Growth projections for “connected TV”

Youtube was fined for collecting personal data on children

Data Netflix collects and what it’s used for

What to do:

For video streaming devices like Roku and Fire TV refer to these instructions to adjust settings. Although caution that studies have shown this will limit some tracking but will not completely prevent it.

For YouTube privacy settings, see guide here.