Companies with a heavy dependency on consumer data are at an interesting crossroads. In media and entertainment, the reliance on first-party data is greater than ever as pressure mounts to shift to direct-to-consumer models and deliver seamless experiences across digital, linear, and physical environments (Fulgoni, 2018). Thanks to recent online privacy scandals, however, consumers are becoming acutely aware of the ways in which their data are being misused. (Morey, Forbath, and Schoop, 2015; Satariano, 2018).
Will this awareness make people less willing to share their information? Such a backlash is hard to predict. As consumers become increasingly empowered to control their data, however, U.S. companies that are not proactively developing more transparent and reciprocal data policies run the risk of losing one of their most vital resources. Europe’s tough new data rules under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) aim to give Internet users more control over what is collected and shared about them (Satariano, 2018). California’s sweeping new online privacy rules, which take effect in 2020, are deemed the toughest in the United States, although not as rigorous as GDPR (Wakabayashi, 2018).