What does an increased focus on privacy mean for personalized content?

Sharath Dorbala - CEO, Vindicia
Sharath Dorbala is Chief Executive Officer of Vindicia and Head of Technology and Product for Vubiquity. Both companies are strategic pillars of Amdocs Media – a division of Amdocs.
We need to talk about privacy.

It’s estimated that you have about eight seconds to catch someone’s attention. Knowing more about a person makes this much easier. But high-profile security breaches, ongoing consumer concern around “surveillance advertising,” and the likes of Apple ensuring users know how they’re being tracked is changing the discussion. Balancing privacy concerns while maintaining trust is more critical than ever.

With this landscape in mind, Amdocs Media released its New Streamer 2021 Report findings, which surveyed 2,000 consumers in the US and UK about their preferences around streaming and subscription services. Interestingly, the data revealed that many consumers are in fact willing to exchange personal data for an enhanced streaming experience. So, where do we go from here?

Consumers seek better content and pricing options – at the cost of data

Even with security being top of mind for consumers, almost 60% said they would exchange personal data for an improved subscription service.

In the US, 33% are willing to exchange personal data for better quality video content and access to more TV shows and films, while 29% would share personal data to get their current bundle at a lower price. Numbers were similar in the UK, with consumers willing to share for more content (40%), a lower price (37%) and fewer ads (32%).

This is good news for subscription and OTT providers for a few reasons. One, subscription intelligence and analytics drives everything from personalization to retention. If you don’t know enough about your customers, you likely can’t offset ongoing churn-related issues.

I believe this can lead to some changes in the market. More players will offer flexible business models, for example free or ad-based video with data sharing vs. subscription video. And then there’s “purpose-based” offerings. For instance, consumers buy an exercise bike to use with a monthly subscription and get it for a lower cost by sharing specific fitness data. This blend of hardware and recurring revenue is where we’ll see a new war for consumer attention will take place.

Keep in mind, one wrong move can send consumers fleeing

OTT and subscription providers need to tread carefully here. In both the US and UK, about 35% of consumers would change their provider after a privacy breach. 40% said their leaving would depend on what action their providers took after the issue occurred.

These findings make it clear that we need to put consumers back in control with complete transparency. We can’t just have machines pulling pools of data on consumers. We need a human touch that helps determine what should or should not be shared. Customers telling us I want to share this, but not that. Or, that they want the information to stay within your “walled garden” – but not beyond it.

Subscription services are all competing for the same thing: to provide the right curated content and new monetization models, all while making customers their evangelists. When it comes to the personal data tradeoff, as in many cases, providing transparency and authenticity is the best route.