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How was it for you? 

I’m talking about GDPR of course – one of the most controversial pieces of EU legislation ever (apart from the reform of copyright but that’s for another day!). it came into force on 25 May but as the head of our Regulator here in the UK said – 25 May is the beginning of your GDPR compliance journey, not a hard deadline.  

All of our clients at Europe Analytica have been concerned with GDPR but none more so than the European Publishers Council. Today’s citizens are more mobile, well informed and socially connected than ever before and the media continues to have a unique role. Through news websites publishers can, and do inform the choices of millions of Europe’s citizens – their cultural choices, recreational choices – and, yes, sometimes – political choices.

Publishers start millions of conversations daily with citizens through our recognised brands of newspapers and magazines wherever they are, by physical and digital means, and entertain and inform through TV and radio. It is this professionally edited, high quality and high-value content reaching vast audiences that makes these businesses unique. And because of that publishers enjoy a special relationship and trust with their readers. 

But journalism and content is expensive, some of it funded by advertising and all advertising is data-driven these days, hence the link with our friend GDPR. Media diversity comes at a cost as journalists need to be trained, paid, resourced and legally protected by their publishers – reaching out to all audiences from the most local to the most global whilst investing in the latest technologies to maximise the impact and enjoyment of our output.

As consumer facing businesses, funded through data-driven advertising, news media publishers have invested enormous amounts of their time and resources, both human and technical, to ensure transparency and consent requirements are implemented throughout the hitherto somewhat murky ‘ad-tech’ chain so they can collect and use personal data from their readers. This has been a mammoth task and one which carries terrifying liabilities day in and day out, not least because of the threat of fines for non-compliance. 

We have seen from revelations about fake news, or premium brand data-driven advertising appearing next to illegal content, that the business model of the platforms is to generate maximum levels of advertising revenues and user data. This is both a commercial issue but also a societal one. News publishers online, on mobile wherever you are support democratic debate and the right to be informed. Advertising will remain for the foreseeable future part of this business too. Publishers will take care of your data so don’t be afraid to click yes and help them deliver the most effective, data-driven ads in our post GDPR world.

Angela Mills Wade, Director of Europe Analytica and Executive Director of the European Publishers Council