As you may know, Samba TV is engaged in ongoing litigation with Alphonso — a company that came to market by misrepresenting its own capabilities. We filed a variety of lawsuits against them to reveal the truth, and so far we have been able to shed a lot of light on what Alphonso is really doing.
To give you the latest update, on December 28, 2018, a district court in California granted summary judgment in Alphonso’s favor. This decision was based in part on admissions Alphonso was forced to make in public, which is a victory for Samba and our industry because it forced Alphonso to reveal important facts about the quantity of its data, the quality of its data, and how their ad targeting actually operates.
Our Legal Case Is Ongoing
The December ruling was just one piece in a larger endeavor to protect our intellectual property, and dragging Alphonso into the light through a legal process.
- Alphonso has over time realized that its future lies in working with Smart TV data, and that directly infringes on Samba’s patents. We learned that their only direct TV integration is with Hisense, but the Hisense-Alphonso partnership happened too recently to be included in our original case against Alphonso.
- Based on things that we have learned in our original case, Samba has filed a more recent and separate case against Alphonso about its false and misleading statements to the marketplace.
Truths About Alphonso Revealed Under Oath
- Low quality data: Alphonso boasts to customers that it has rich TV data. However, under oath and under penalty of perjury, Alphonso admitted that its “TV data” comes from a Slingbox app installed on only 200,000 mobile devices, which accesses a Slingbox attached to a TV in a remote location. Slingbox is a nice product, but also a niche utility, and it can be hardly utilized in the way Alphonso has represented its capabilities for TV measurement and targeting. When in discussions with Alphonso, be sure to ask what percentage of your campaign or measurement study would be influenced by the Slingbox data.
- Alphonso’s data also relies on mobile devices listening in the background to what you might be watching on TV. We would encourage the market to ask for a sample of the quality of this data, and transparency into name and type of apps and devices that are gathering it to understand representativeness and privacy exposure.
- Questionable reach: Alphonso boasts to customers that it has the largest TV viewership footprint, and that it’s able to reach 40MM unique devices. However, under oath and under penalty of perjury, Alphonso has a very different story. One would struggle to breakdown the 40MM devices into its constituent parts, given that Alphonso has only shipped its technology with Hisense-made TVs, but not those that include the Roku OS.
- Hisense acquired Toshiba TV, however they have yet to release TVs with Alphonso in the US market, which is in direct contradiction to what Alphonso claims in its sales pitch. Alphonso has licensed TV data from Gracenote, but that is only for targeting, not measurement, and comes from only one TV brand.
- Removing Hisense, Gracenote, and Slingbox, its apparent that the vast majority of the 40MM devices are mobile devices that are surreptitiously gathering low quality data that can be hardly useful for any kind of measurement solution. Demand transparency from all of your vendors and especially those who tell a different story under oath.
- Not real-time: Alphonso boasts to customers that it can do real-time targeting of people who are exposed to a TV spot. However, under oath and under penalty of perjury, Alphonso admitted that its targeting is enabled by Alphonso employees in a manual process.
- Specifically, Alphonso needs a human to copy and paste from a TV dataset a set of identifiers to manually construct a campaign. It is simply impossible that Alphonso could use this approach to perform real time TV targeting. Again, we would encourage you to seek clarity into how this process actually works, and why their sales pitch varies so dramatically from what they’re saying in court.
Samba TV Advantages
With our proprietary visual ACR technology integrated with 14 Smart TV OEM partners, Samba owns the most comprehensive TV viewership data set in the industry. Fortune 500 brands and agencies turn to Samba TV as their primary source of TV insights, analytics, and audiences. Samba provides our customers:
- High quality data: Samba’s own proprietary visual ACR technology is integrated into the hardware of Smart TV’s at the chipset level, ensuring real-time access to very accurate data.
- Massive reach: Samba reaches 97MM unique devices globally, including TVs in 19.4MM households.
- Real-time targeting: Samba’s proprietary technology enables advertisers to target TV viewers immediately across all devices in real-time and on a retargeted basis, leveraging our high quality data and our representative research panel for measurement.
As the inventor of cross screen targeting and measurement with substantial intellectual property, Samba will be relentless in its desire to reveal the truth and protect the marketplace from false claims and the infringement of our pioneering IP.
Samba’s IP position is stronger than ever before, and we have obtained multiple new patents since commencing this dispute with Alphonso in 2015. Samba now has over 40 patents granted and pending, covering core technology for cross-screen personalization, targeting, and measurement.