FCC Proposes Sweeping Privacy Changes

On the heels of reclassifying broadband providers under last year’s net neutrality regulations changes, the FTC recently proposed sweeping changes to broadband privacy requirements.

“The plan would require broadband providers to obtain consumer consent, disclose data collection, protect personal information and report breaches. Broadband providers currently collect consumer data without consent and some use that data for targeted advertising, which has drawn criticism from privacy advocates.” – noted Entrepreneur.com.

Giving proper notice and choice is a self imposed standard for the digital marketing industry.  As seen with the AdChoices standard, consumers need to be notified that they are receiving a targeted advertisement and have the option to opt-out of the targeting.  Ironically, the AdChoices opt out is managed through a cookie – and this opt-out is only valid as long as the consumer maintains the AdChoices opt-out cookie.

Presumably broadband providers will enable a similar notice and choice system, though likely system wide rather than ad specific.

These changes apply to broadband providers like Verizon and AT&T, but do not apply to Google, Twitter, nor Facebook.

The proposal goes to a vote on March 31, 2016.

Source:  Entrepreneur.com

Newsweek Drops Its Paywall, Sort of…

Following in the footsteps of The Sun, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The Financial Times, Newsweek has decided to remove its paywall.  It will still offer digital subscriptions, giving paid subscribers access to premium digital content and early access to monthly issues before non-subscribers.

This move is not entirely surprising.  With topical news content freely available through numerous media channels, paywalls represent a significant barrier to entry.  Digital publishers struggle with the delicate balance between driving traffic with free content, versus monetizing premium subscriber-only content.  If they make it too difficult to access content that can easily be found elsewhere, overall revenue (whether through subscription or ad revenue) will fall.

Newsweek is looking to take at least one page out of Netflix’s playbook.  Netflix creates its own custom content, designed to keep subscribers coming back month after month.  Netflix is betting that just a few “favorite” shows could be enough to justify a sub ten dollar subscription fee, every month. While topical news isn’t as unique as entertainment content, Newsweek’s ability to sustain subscription revenues rest heavily on their ability to deliver unique content worth paying for.

Another option would be to increase revenues from non-subscriber traffic.  Offering programmatic segments, reselling behavioral data segments, or optimizing free content in real time based upon advertiser demand are just a few options to increase advertising supply revenues.

In any case, Time (or Newsweek) will tell.

Source: AdAge

Facebook Offers Businesses Insights On Nearby Shoppers

A feature launched on Facebook last November is starting to get the attention of small businesses.  Facebook now allows businesses to gain important insights into the people who frequent the area around them.  These summarized insights are updated daily, and provide several “look back” window options.

This tool has broad implications beyond simply advertising on Facebook.  Marketers and commercial realtors can use this data to better determine where to open retail locations.  Pop-up stores and mobile retailers (think: food trucks) can use this data to determine the optimal time and place to “set up shop”.  Combined with other partners (think: Uber, ClearChannel, Lamar) this data could help identify demand for future services, or target out of home advertising , in a manner which respects the privacy of the consumer.

Source: AdAge