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Consumer Data Privacy and Protection in the Addressable TV Landscape

September 18th, 2018   ||    by John R. Osborn

With so much space in trade publications and industry blogs being taken up by addressable TV and programmatic TV, it’s impossible for local TV stations, station groups, and local advertisers to plan the future without understanding responsibilities around consumer data privacy.

This is an area where governing bodies are already enacting regulation. Europe’s May 2018 GDPR law and its penalties to noncompliers require the attention of all US content providers with potential audiences in the EU.

In some cases, GDPR has also sparked US states to create their own regulations; the New York Times reported that California passed an online privacy bill in June 2018. GDPR has brought a higher level of accountability to the US media and advertising industry.

Data Collection in the TV Industry

There’s an eight-part ad technology distribution chain consisting of content creators, SSPs, ad exchange platforms, DSPs, DMPs, streaming services, screen hardware manufacturers and finally, the media consumer. Along this chain, you can imagine the extent of data collection points, all of which should be guarded for data collection compliance.

Forbes noted that “It [GDPR] also requires maintaining the data lineage to data sources and tracking to downstream applications so we know from where a customer profile attribute came and which applications are using it.” In other words, consumer data should be traceable across each data collection point.

Data Privacy Best Practices

With consumer data privacy and abuse of consumer data a growing concern, it’s best for the advertising industry to self-regulate and err on the side of strong protections ahead of potential future US government regulation. In the global ad economy, sales of even local US inventory should adhere to global standards of data privacy, as buying systems will be expanding beyond current geographic limits.

The best path forward for local T/V (Television/Video) is to have advertiser and station legal counsel understand and recommend best practices for compliance with the current standard as established by GDPR. When signing on with SSPs, ad exchange platforms, or other entities down the distribution stream, it will be important to have counsel evaluate a practice of contractually requiring those entities to accept liability for not adhering to GDPR laws.

As new laws are introduced and clarified, this will need to be an ongoing review process to establish the most reasonable adherence required to minimize risk of penalties. Information Week offers seven steps for US companies to ensure they comply with GDPR.

Now is the time for local T/V to redefine itself as a global advertising platform, not just for legal adherence, but for the massive opportunities in a technology driven ecosystem.

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