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GDPR: Be Positive


INFLUENCER: VCCP Media's Lee Baring on how the industry can meet the data-pocalypse head on

GDPR: Be Positive

The impending GDPR legislation has brought with it a fair amount of pessimism and apprehension. The penalties for breaching the new code have become more famous than the benefits it will bring to the consumer and to the media world.

Even as I write this email, new job opportunities are springing up. 48% of organisations have already hired a new Data Protection Officer whilst a further 36% are looking to hire somebody to fulfil that role in the next 12 months. An un-prominent role some five years ago, not now in the GDPR boom.

Which brings us round to our industry, media. Although much has been made of the negative impact of GDPR, I’ve seen very little in promoting the positives that this could bring.

Firstly, trust in online media is low. Even before Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, the online world lacked the trust that more traditional formats could afford. However, in the recent study ‘GDPR; A Consumer Perspective’, 62% said their confidence about sharing data with businesses is improved by the incoming laws. The news will be welcomed by the data gathers of the digital world who are in much need of a PR facelift going into the second half of 2018.

Secondly, GDPR could encourage agencies and advertisers alike to become much more creative when trying to understand audiences as there is a potential for their current tools either to lose effectiveness or become more and more expensive.

At VCCP Media, we place a great emphasis in understanding the human aspect of any brief. As data has become more readily available and certainly more impressive, the creativeness of audience discovery can sometimes become stifled, with the same tools being used more and more regularly as their prowess becomes more and more heightened.

If our data tools start to become inefficient to use, planners will need to diversify their techniques, finding new methods (and reusing some trusted formats), always striving to match the bygone era of data availability. Apparently, when Concorde aircraft was retired in 2003, it was one of the first times that technology moved backwards. GDPR could be the data equivalent of the Concorde moment. It will, most likely for a short-spell at least, move the data world and therefore its use in planning, backwards. However, just like in the aerospace world, we as planners will strive to find new and improved techniques, develop new tools and find new routes in discovering and understanding our consumers.

Lastly, GDPR provides opportunities to a number of mediums and media owners. Karen Eccles, director of digital sales and innovation at the Telegraph Group said when speaking at a recent Unruly event “Trust Talks”, that "GDPR is good news for publishers that have protected the relationship they have with users. GDPR puts the control back in the hands of those collecting data on users." The Telegraph, among others, see GDPR as an opportunity to place themselves as a valued alternative to Google and Amazon. They have cultivated their relationship with their users and as such, should be in a strong position to offer valued insight to that base even after GDPR.

ITV and Channel 4 have placed a huge emphasis over the last few years in creating a data-rich BVOD offering. They’ve developed a relationship with their viewers whereby in exchange for a small amount of information on sign-up, ITV and Channel 4 can serve targeted advertising in innovative formats (personalised, interactive) and the viewer can continue watching a vast amount of content for free. Post GDPR, we could see a reduction of data-led, targeted video products available, which potentially provides opportunities for traditional broadcasters.

GDPR is essential to the modern world. Although the quantity of data was hugely beneficial to the likes of me and the rest of media planning community, it wasn’t always beneficial for the consumer and to use a VCCP mantra, “It only works if it all works”.

Going forward, agencies may face a challenging time of adaptation. Those agile enough to circumvent the impending data drought will quickly stand out from their competitors, being able to offer clients true consumer insight will become more valuable post GDPR and in challenging times, a challenger agency such as VCCP Media, is well placed and will versed, to meet the data-pocalypse, head on.

Lee Baring is head of broadcast at VCCP Media

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VCCP, Fri, 18 May 2018 09:43:46 GMT