Tracking what you watch on TV
BBC R&D carried out two studies to explore user attitudes towards data privacy and personal data – in particular how these attitudes relate to watching TV - live and on-demand.
The first study required participants to explicitly disclose information, by using an online diary to record watched programmes. These participants were interviewed in the lab and were presented with prototypes and mockup.
The second study implicitly tracked participants BBC iPlayer activity for one month. These participants had access to features to view and manage their data, and completed the study with an online questionnaire.
The first study began with a diary study to capture five days of TV watching. Each participant was instructed to select the programmes they watched on a TV schedule, although many recorded the viewing of other family members as well. When discussed during the interviews, participants did not feel that viewing data of others was separate to their own, even when they were not watching the programme particularly like it. Participants were similarly unconcerned when their personalised recommendations reflected the viewing history of others – for example children’s programmes or soaps.
Lab based interviews followed the diary study where participants were given personalised visualizations of their TV watching: *analytic, list and thumbnail*. They were asked to compare and discuss each. Overall they liked the *thumbnail* version the most because it was easily to scan through, whether the analytic view felt too mathematical.
Visualisation of data
Participants were also presented with scenarios representing three features that would be driven by personal data covered two main uses:
* enable participants to view and control their data
* enhance the participants’ experience of TV.
Find your place in a series as a storyboard
Recommendations as screens from iPlayer on TV
A third scenario, Favourite Programmes, was described to them.
The most popular features using tracked data from TV viewing activity were those that helped participants find, discover and remember programmes. When looking at mock-ups, they preferred ‘place in a series’ and ‘programme shortcuts’.
The diary study revealed an unexpected insight that participants captured programmes that they did not particularly watch or enjoy, that were watched by others in the household. During the interview, these participants were unconcerned if these programmes affected personalised recommendation, and didn’t mind if recommendations were not just for them.
A model proposed for personalised TV experiences is based around identifying and authenticating the individual. However, the behaviour observed in this privacy study suggests that some users may expect a more shared and collaborative system.