Bengaluru-based Zapr Media Labs, which counts Rupert Murdoch-led media group Star and several major local companies including Flipkart (which is now owned by Walmart), music streaming service Saavn, handset maker Micromax as its investors, has developed a tech that listens to ambient sounds around users to build targeted advertising profiles of them, reports news outlet FactorDaily. Zapr does this by using the microphone on the smartphone. Several major services in the country including Chota Bheem games to Dainik Bhaskar (a news outlet) to, likely, even Hotstar (a hugely popular streaming service which launched its service in the US and Canada last year, and which as you may recall, set a global record for most simultaneous views earlier this year) have embedded Zapr’s technology into their apps. FactorDaily reports that most of these services are not forthcoming to their customers about what kind of monitoring they are doing. An excerpt from the report: One of the apps that inspired Zapr’s founding team was the popular music detection and identification app Shazam. But, its three co-founders saw opportunity in going further. “Instead of detecting music, can we detect all kinds of medium? Can we detect television? Can we detect movies in a theatre? Can we detect video on demand? Can we really build a profile for a user about their media consumption habits… and that really became the idea, the vision we wanted to solve for,” Sandipan Mondal, CEO of Zapr Media Labs, said in an interview last week on Thursday.
Shorn of jargon, the underlying Zapr tech listens to ambient sounds around you, analyses it, and profiles users based on their media consumption habits. “That data would be very useful in order to recommend the right kind of content and also for brands and advertisers to hopefully reduce the wastage and inefficiencies and make smarter decisions,” said Mondal, who co-founded the company in 2012 along with his batchmates from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (batch of 2010) Deepak Baid and Sajo Mathews.
Zapr claims to have the largest media consumption analytics database in India and helps television channels and brands to earn a better bang for their advertising buck. To be sure, advertising — even with the internet’s promise of better targeting — still is an inaccurate business with proxies, at best, helping measure its return on investment. But, Zapr’s tech comes with privacy and data concerns — lots of it.
Read more of this story at Slashdot.