Big Brother Can Hear Which Ads You’re Watching

In advertising, the web has spending certainty, but TV has scale. Now German consumer research firm GfK is trying to bring something like the net’s trump card to the telly – by using mobile phones to listen to which ads viewers really watch.

Members of its Web Efficiency Panel – whose internet usage is monitored to help advertisers understand the impact of their online advertising – are being handed “modified mobile phones, which record exposure to TV advertising through sound recognition“, GfK says.

From the announcement: “Individuals activate the GfK-modified mobile phone when they are watching television, and the phone is able to recognise from the sound which advertisement is being viewed. The recorded data is then transmitted via the phone