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Why is ABC iView now asking me to log in?

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Recently ABC iview has started asking users to create an account and log in to use iview. This change has been in the works for several years and the roll-out, which is planned to be mandatory from July 2021, is being met with some scepticism. Here’s what the Alumni’s tech expert Peter Marks has to say …

Scepticism about the introduction of compulsory log ins for ABC iview includes accusations that it is one step on a path to switching to a commercial subscription ABC, or that ABC IDs might be used for nefarious ad-tracking or other intrusive data collection.

I was working in Digital Network on iview when Michelle Guthrie joined the ABC as Managing Director. On her initial observations of iview, she commented that it promoted a show, which she then watched. The next day she thought it was weird that it promoted the same show even though she had already enjoyed it! Coming from Google, our implementation must have seemed to her like Stone Age technology.

The official advantages of logging in to iview include:

  • it knows what you’ve watched, and how far through, so you can continue watching even on other devices;
  • a personal watch list can be managed by the user (rather than the old system that worked per device);
  • programs can be recommended to each user based on their past viewing.

As an ABC Alumni, who has worked on these digital products, I trust the ABC with my data. It is common to identify yourself with a service. The email can be an alias or one-time address if you like. You can choose to use an existing identity, including Apple, Google, Facebook, or just an email and password combination.

One more login is a burden but modern web browsers take care of remembering the username and password for each site. I support logging in to the ABC and, while caution is warranted (and I’ll bet there’s more to come), I have no hesitation with what’s being requested so far.

Peter Marks / 17 May 2021

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