Parks Associates says 59% of Pay TV subscribers in U.S. broadband households are ‘bothered’ by the fact that advertisers use their personal viewing data to push personalized ads to them. The statistic comes from the research firm’s ‘360 View: Digital Media & Connected Consumers’ study, which analyses trends in music and video consumption by platform, source, and content expenditure. This also revealed that 40% of Pay TV subscribers worry about the safety and use of their personal data when they use an online video service. “Privacy fears are a major factor in broadband consumers’ online media experiences,” concludes Glenn Hower, Senior Analyst at Parks Associates.
His company says a majority of consumers are concerned about safety and privacy issues when their personal data is used by media companies and advertisers and says: “Advertisers and Pay TV providers need to be transparent about their data collection and protection of consumers’ information. These efforts are important for Pay TV providers in particular, as 34% of U.S. Pay TV subscribers indicate they trust an online video service more than they trust their current Pay TV provider.”
I attended a private event this week in London (under Chatham House rule, so no reporting possible) focused on how media companies can become data champions. There was a clear consensus among data analytics firms and privacy compliance experts – including lawyers advising media companies how to deal with the forthcoming GDPR data regulations from the EU – that the big opportunity is to become an ethical data handler. This means making yourself a consumer champion and setting your own privacy protection standards beyond what is required simply to meet the letter of the law, and instead acknowledging the intent of data privacy laws and making them a part of your corporate culture. In effect, this demands a consumer-first approach.
This was considered (by the experts present) to be a practical way to cope with the different interpretations of new privacy laws that will be applied across jurisdictions, and a way to reduce any fines from regulators if there is an honest mistake that leads to privacy breaches. Furthermore, by taking this stance, privacy can become a differentiator for media companies in an era when consumers are becoming more concerned about the use of their personal data. It was also agreed that if you make consumer privacy protection an ethical crusade, and not just a legal tick-box exercise, you will actually drive data innovation rather than hinder your ability to compete via data.