Natalie Haynes: I don't want the world to know what I watch curled up on the sofa

Notebook: I can’t get past the belief that the rewards for the consumer are smaller than the rewards for the provider

Share
Related Topics

Do you mind Alan Sugar knowing what you watch on TV? Because if you sign up to his new catch-up TV service, YouView, that's pretty much what you're agreeing to: the broadcasters and their commercial partners will know what you're watching and when you're watching it. Whether he'll cut you off if you turn off halfway through The Apprentice has yet to be confirmed.

Why anyone would want this service, I'm not sure, since BBC's iPlayer, 4oD and the ITV player cover this ground quite successfully. I guess the market is technophobes: people who want catch-up telly, but don't want to watch it on their computers, and don't want to link the computer to the TV.

The idea seems to be that you buy the box, for a hefty £300, but then you don't have to pay a monthly subscription. Understandably, given that you could get all those channels for free through a games console that would cost rather less, and would let you watch DVDs or Blu-rays too. But it's not the price I find off-putting, it's the data gathering.

Sure, they'll render the data anonymous. But it will still be shared with other companies who can then target their advertising to your postcode: imagine the horror of discovering you live in an area which is mainly watching Andrew Lloyd Webber pick a West End Jesus, when you had seen yourself as more of the Mad Men demographic. It's surely only a matter of moments before estate agents start marketing properties as Sorkin-friendly (none of that reality muck round here, thanks for asking).

I don't know why I find the idea of corporations tracking our viewing-habits so distasteful: as a reviewer, virtually everything I read or see or watch is recorded for public consumption somewhere. But at least I'm getting paid for that. And, crucially, it doesn't reveal my personal tastes: it just reveals what I'm covering for work. It's the equivalent of doing someone else's shopping with a loyalty card.

Not that I have loyalty cards, obviously, since I don't want Boots or Tesco to know about my shopping, any more than I want Lord Sugar to be surprised I gave up on Line of Duty after two episodes. Losing out on reward points seems a small price to pay to me: besides, I don't need a reward for going to the shops, because I am an adult and can cope without getting prizes for completing simple tasks.

I can't get past the belief that the financial rewards for the consumer – targeted discount vouchers – are considerably smaller than the financial rewards for the provider, who knows far more about us than they should. So, with regret, YouView, you're fired.

Leave it to the Greeks, Boris

Boris Johnson read an ode, composed specially in English and ancient Greek, at a gala last night for the International Olympic Committee, which I like to think of as his small recompense for the lane closures and traffic jams. While the Greek is undoubtedly better than the awful English doggerel (London has a river, as the Greek says, rather than a shore. But then, shore rhymes with more, whereas river is not such a giver), I do wonder why they bothered.

I've never really understood the fondness for putting English into Greek or Latin. There was even a brief, ugly trend for putting AA Milne and JK Rowling into Greek and Latin, as if that weren't the epitome of twee. I like ancient Greek as much as the next girl, but if we're going to the trouble of reading something that looks like Pindar, why wouldn't we just read Pindar?

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: union bosses mobilise to try to prevent a Labour government

John Rentoul
Yvette Cooper campaigning in London at the launch of Labour’s women’s manifesto  

I want the Labour Party to lead a revolution in family support

Yvette Cooper
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine