Innovation That Matters

Eye tracking technology provides extremely accurate viewing data

Publishing & Media

Boston based MIT startup, Vision Insights, monitors viewer reactions as they watch and provides broadcasters and programmers with highly in depth viewing data.

With increasing competition from other platforms, audiences are already migrating away from traditional TV viewing. At the beginning of this year we wrote about a startup that allows filmmakers to monitor the emotions of their audience even as they experience the film. Now TVision Insights has built a device that tracks tv viewers: who is watching what, and how they are reacting to it.

Developed at MIT, the Boston based company work with broadcasters to provide them with the data they need to inform better programming. As their website says, “we show you what’s happening on the other side of the screen”. In another round of funding, the startup has just raised an extra USD 6.8 million, bringing their total funding to USD 9.3 million.

The technology, built on computer vision and focused on eye-tracking technology, uses sensors and algorithms that are capable of identifying not just who is watching in a family group, but also who is just sitting in the room but not watching TV, and what viewers’ reactions are to the show that is on at the time. The company have developed a small device that sits on top of an ordinary television and can even use lasers and thermal infra-red to work in low light. TVision’s devices are already installed in some 7,000 homes who have opted in across the US and Japan and currently provides data to three of the largest broadcasters.

Accurate viewing data is essential if television broadcasters are going to compete. Reporting shortfalls could eventually lead to advertising declines and a severe loss of revenue. Could this kind of in-depth tracking technology be used across other entertainment platforms?


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