Data collected by internet and media companies is a powerful tool, and the big mergers planned by AT&T with Time Warner and Verizon with Yahoo offer those firms more data that can be used to target consumers with content and advertising.
Privacy advocates using all that online and offline data without safeguards could be alarming.
“Twenty-first century media is all about the ability to gather information on a single individual regardless of where they are — whether they are using mobile phone or watching TV or in a grocery store,” said Jeffrey Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy, a privacy rights group.
The $85 billion (£69.54 billion) deal unveiled Saturday would combine AT&T, one of the largest mobile telecom and residential internet operators, with Time Warner, the media-entertainment giant with powerful brands including the Warner Bros. studio, HBO, CNN, Cartoon Network and a major online game studio.
AT&T chief executive Randall Stephenson said the deal would offer better choices to both consumers and advertisers.
“We´ll develop content that´s better tailored to what specific audience segments want to watch, when, where and on which device,” he said.
“And we´ll use the insights to expand the market for addressable advertising. Addressable advertising is far more effective and more valuable both to the advertisers and to our customer.”