The IAB Europe’s answer to GDPR

How it will help protect free access to news and information

Last month, the global advertising industry unveiled a solution to enable publishers and advertisers to comply with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) when it comes into effect on May 25th, 2018. Led by the IAB Europe, the proposed solution gives publishers, advertisers, and ad technology companies a common language with which to understand if a consumer has given his or her consent for their personal data to be used for the targeting of online ads.

It’s a much-needed solution, and it should be adopted by publishers and brands worldwide once it becomes available from February 2018. Without it, our access to free news and information as consumers will be under threat.

Advertising currently accounts for more than 80 percent of revenues for digital publishers, from the world’s largest and most well-known publishing powerhouses to your local town paper. Without the ability to easily recognise a website visitor, and know their preferences on how their data can be used, publishers will have no way to show them relevant ads.

What will at first be an annoyance for consumers as they’re presented with increasingly irrelevant messages will soon become a catastrophe as news outlets lose access to their biggest source of revenue. More relevant ads aren’t just valuable to consumers. They generate more revenue for the publishers, meaning more money that can be invested in the great content their audiences love.

Not a question of if, but when 

Without a solution in place it’s not a question of if news outlets will close, but how soon and how many.

With them will go the editorial reporting and insight that the world is in dire need of in the age of fake news.

The GDPR’s focus on giving more control to consumers should be applauded. As a company, Quantcast takes the concept of privacy by design very seriously, and we support this intent of the regulations.

As with any change, however, there can be unintended consequences.

It would be a disaster for consumers if the regulations designed to protect them had the effect of reducing their free access to news and information, which is what GDPR threatens to do. Not to mention the risk of hurting innovation and competition by putting a huge potential burden on publishers and more power into the hands of a few large organisations that increasingly control the distribution of news to consumers. That’s why Quantcast has been working closely with the IAB Europe to develop the consumer consent solution announced last month.

I encourage every publisher and organisation that relies on consumer data to look closely at the solution and the guidance the IAB Europe has shared, and be ready to implement it come February 2018.

Quantcast is making more information on GDPR available for clients via our website.