Consumers still okay with trading privacy for content: Insights from Darcy Antonellis
Note: This byline was originally featured in Broadcasting + Cable.
Almost 75% of consumers are more skeptical than ever about companies having access to their data, according to a recent survey from consumer research firm Vanson Bourne. Recent significant and high-profile security breaches have exacerbated concerns and continue to make headlines.
Surprising to some, though, is that almost 60% of consumers would still be willing to give up their data for better access to TV content, and one-third of consumers would even give up their data for a lower-priced TV bundle. In a PC Magazine survey, almost half (44%) of respondents said they would exchange personal data for something as basic as public WiFi.
These statistics bring up interesting dilemmas for content owners and distributors — over-the-top, pay TV or otherwise. The goal, rightfully, is to deliver to consumers the most compelling and relevant media and entertainment experiences and finding ways to achieve this, one subscriber at a time. The challenge is respecting the confines of good governance of privacy. This year, marketers will need to take a stance on privacy concerns while maintaining a balance of trust.
Increasingly it’s evident — we’ll see a shift from the metadata-driven only recommendation of “if this, then that.” We’ll see suggestions come together by coupling metadata from unique user profiles, social influencers (friends, etc.) inputs, to temperament, personal mood at a given moment, aided by artificial intelligence and omnichannel personalization technology. When all of this comes together, data leaks become personal in a real-time, informed way. So, while there are things we typically do as humans, life events change our routines and interests moment to moment. The information then delivered to us should change in the same way. This is a true North Star of sorts and can provide marketers with valuable, contextual insights for those today taking a heavy data-driven approach.
Is All Privacy Created Equal?
Sharing of data is, of course, a two-way street: The better a consumer is understood, the better the experience, but that means more behavioral data is also revealed and made available. Ensuring consumers can grasp this by ensuring an easy-to-understand tradeoff is key. Notably, though, sharing personal data for the better TV content tradeoff is viewed as a reasonable balance of trade by consumers from Generations X and Y, with more than seven in 10 (71%) of 22-to-35-year-olds saying that they would do this. In comparison, 42% of those aged 51 to 65 would, which in itself is a significant number for a population that is largely made up of baby boomers. Regardless of age, this tangible exchange, whether it’s for more or fewer ads, borderline over-indexing or a recommendation for more free premium content has to be clearly understood by consumers.
New inputs or data points coming from smart cities, smart-home environments, the Internet of Things, intelligent automobiles and other connected surroundings provide immense opportunities for commerce and engagement. At the same time, it highlights the need to remain respectful and mindful of an individual’s privacy. It’s likely less about underlying technologies such as AI, but more around how we translate business rules to such technologies to provide a better experience without being intrusive. Privacy isn’t one size fits all and giving consumers clear options remains a worthwhile and productive path. At the end of the day, as in many cases, providing transparency and authenticity is always the best path.