Campaigns can now see what you watch on TV. It’s changing everything.

Smart TVs that track what people watch and how they watch it give political campaigns a new trove of data to exploit, with little transparency on how it’s happening


Political aide turned data guru Jesse Contario works in the shadows. His employer, MiQ, will never be mentioned at the end of a campaign ad, and it won’t show up on the disclosures campaigns must post to keep the public abreast of their work.

Yet Contario works with some of the biggest campaigns in the country — and his firm might know a lot about you. MiQ specializes in harvesting data, including for political campaigns, and it increasingly is pulling data from streaming TV to help campaigns hit viewers with the right messages at the right times.

To hear data experts tell it, the smart TV revolution was supercharged by COVID-19, when consumers stuck inside rushed to upgrade their televisions. Now, streaming television is quickly becoming instrumental to campaigning, promising politicians the ability to reach more voters and target them with highly specific ads.

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