AT&T’s CEO Claims HBO Will Get Viewer Data From Apple TV Channels

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson

At its ‘Show Time’ event on Monday, Apple announced a new Channels feature for its TV app. The feature allows one to directly subscribe to third-party streaming services from within the TV app directly. Since Apple always takes a privacy-focused approach, it was believed that the company would not be sharing any kind of data with other content distributors on its platform. However, that does not seem to be the case.

AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson in an interview at the Fintech Ideas Festival claimed that they would be getting viewership data from Apple for putting its content on their platform.  AT&T owns WarnerMedia which in turn owns HBO.

“It’s critical. The data is foundational to everything we’re doing. So you can assume that if we do a deal to distribute HBO through a certain digital distributor” AT&T’s CEO Stephenson said.

“Just pick the one you want to pick, we will have access to data. It’s critical to everything we’re trying to do. It’s critical to the content creation algorithms, it’s critical to advertising delivery, it’s critical to marketing. It’s really critical to everything.”

Stephenson claimed that the data is critical to everything the company does. The data will help the company with targetted advertising, content creation algorithm, and marketing.

It is possible that while Apple will be sharing some amount of data with AT&T, it would all be anonymized and masked by the company and won’t reveal any user information. As mentioned by AT&T’s CEO, the data will be used by the company to plan its future content strategy, show better-targeted ads to viewers, and more.

Apart from HBO, Apple TV Channels will allow users to directly subscribe to Showtime, CBS All Access, Eros Now, Epix, Starz, Cinemax, and more. Apple TV Channels will launch in Summer — probably May — was a part of the updated Apple TV app which is a part of the recently released iOS 12.3 beta from Apple.