Publisher Power, Publisher Problems

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Publishers enter 2021 in a position of strength, but only if they can overcome the data disadvantages that created their long self-inflicted servitude to big tech companies. This week’s guest, Quantast VP of product management Somer Simpson, has worked on challenges faced by media companies since the late ‘90s. In this episode, she describes the high stakes these companies face in areas like privacy compliance, data ownership and user experience.

Key to capitalizing on their data will be creating partnerships that unify data assets across publisher companies in privacy-safe and compliant ways.

“Publishers can come together as a group, put aside competitive thinking and say, ‘We have more power as a walled garden of our own, to bring in quality advertisers and distribute across all inventory behind the wall,’” Simpson said.

But it won’t be easy.

“It’s complex and technical and difficult to make work, but it’s the nature of the law,” she says. “We have to iterate constantly as the various regulators put forth opinions. Obviously we could be further along. Just looking at Europe and GDPR, even now only 50% of publishers have a CMP [consent management platform] in place… Some companies have taken a hard stance on that, saying we will not drop a cookie without a consent signal. That’s fantastic. But there’s still a lot of work to be done.”