There is no way back. The knowledge of the individual (a consumer brand’s customer, a media owner’s subscriber, a gamer, a user) about personal data and online privacy can only grow exponentially.
Media owners have a higher responsibility, as they are the gatekeepers of the environment and their own audience experience. They are also the repository of the trust of the “user”, which manifests through consent to the use of that individual’s personal data.
They have a binary choice:
1) Siding with certain ad tech, acting behind the back of their own audiences, “saying-not-saying”, muddying the waters and going against progress and history, surviving a few more months and scraping the bottom of the barrel for some extra revenue.
2) Embracing transparency and taking the leadership in educating their audiences on data: what, how, why, when it is used. What the benefits and the dangers are. And walk the talk.
Number 2 is a way to build a solid and future-proof data strategy. It creates a barrier to entry, a differentiation between quality media and the rest, to the benefits of advertisers and audiences (and revenues). But waiting until it is the only forced choice left is a waste of time, opportunities and competitive advantage.
I wrote about “consent, not data, being the new oil” in the past: