I was talking to my accountant yesterday who is a bit of a firebrand when it comes to local politics and he mentioned how our local cable company, Cablevision, is in position to gather an amazing amount of data about its customers. We on Long Island have always thought of Cablevision as a monopoly when it comes to our television, but check this out: Cablevision owns most of the Internet pipes into our homes. Not to go all “24” on you, but that means they can monitor IP addresses visited. They have intelligent cable boxes in most houses and can easily monitor TV viewing habits by channel, time-of-day, recording habits, commercial viewership, even room. Moreover, they are setting up free a Wifi network which will be able to track our log-ons all over the island.
Sound like a lot? Cablevision also owns Newsday, Long Island’s only real newspaper and Newsday.com, an online property that may someday be the cash cow. They own a chain of movie theaters, now tied to a rewards program. They own a telephone company, which is bundled with Internet access and TV for better value. And they own Madison Square Garden, should we ever decide to leave Long Island and visit the big city. Oh yeah, they own the NY Knicks and the NY Rangers.
This company has the potential to know more about the denizens of Long Island than Google or Homeland Security. If they were to invest in a really smart database and decide to use all of this data for good, Cablevision might just become a marketing intelligent and predictive buying company of historic proportion — something they never imagined in their business plan. Peace!