StarHub combines data of cable TV viewers and mobile users for targeted advertising

 Your cable TV operator knows when you turn on your favourite National Geographic or sports channels, as well as the websites you visit on your StarHub mobile phone. -- PHOTO: BLOOMBERG
 Your cable TV operator knows when you turn on your favourite National Geographic or sports channels, as well as the websites you visit on your StarHub mobile phone. -- PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SINGAPORE - StarHub can tell if a household watches National Geographic or sports channels, as well as the websites that its occupants visit on their StarHub mobile phones. These are all tracked.

The information is being fed into a big machine to churn out household profiles, now used to offer targeted marketing to companies that advertise on StarHub's cable TV platform. On Friday, StarHub announced the launch of Smart Targeting to help advertisers get better marketing results.

"Better audience segmentation will help advertisers better engage customers cross platforms - whether through mobile apps, Web banners, TV spots or electronic direct mailers," said Ms Germaine Ng-Ferguson, StarHub's general manager of integrated solutions and analysis. "In the end, consumers get more relevant advertising."

For instance, consumers are clustered anonymously under categories like fashionista, tech optimist or sports enthusiast, she added. This is similar to how Web giants such as Google and Amazon market to their customers and website visitors.

On privacy concerns, StarHub says it does not share customers' personal information with third parties. People's personal data such as names, addresses and mobile numbers are also not accessed and used.

The viewing patterns of StarHub's 535,000 cable TV customers are captured by the cable TV set-top box installed in homes. This is combined with mobile users' surfing habits - for the first time.

In 2012, StarHub announced a research initiative dubbed SmartHub funded by the National Research Foundation to study consumer behaviour. The first project was with the Orchard Road Business Association (Orba) to understand the locations and demographics of visitors to Orchard Road. But the project did not take off as Orba backed out.

Now, StarHub is working directly with malls and venue operators, which it declined to name, to better understand foot traffic.

StarHub is also working with the Land Transport Authority, technology firm IBM and transport operator SMRT to crunch huge amounts of data to make sense of commuters' movements and travel patterns. The two-year initiative, announced in June, aims to improve the management of incidents such as breakdowns or emergencies on the public transport network.