March 7, 2024

Adapting to Change: The Impact of ICO Regulations and the Rise of Consent or Pay Models on Digital Publishing

Published By
Tirion Yeoman
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This latest update from the ICO still presents a dilemma for publishers, yet the proposed Consent or Pay model offers a glimmer of hope, especially considering the success of increased consent rates in Germany. The impending Meta consent or pay ruling by the European Data Protection Board (EDPB) will likely set the precedent, with the ICO expected to align accordingly.

It's encouraging to see advocacy for contextual advertising, although it will undoubtedly face obstacles, particularly concerning measurement. Nonetheless, it's poised to attract marketing spending once uncertainties settle and has the backing of the ICO. The Privacy Sandbox remains under scrutiny, with the CMA expressing concerns and urging stronger commitments from Google. Given the lack of untested alternatives, publishers must vigilantly monitor this evolving situation.

The ICO has never disclosed if there will be any exceptionalism for cookies. Metadata is required for advertising, measurement data is a necessity for media agencies, and even fraud detection requires some level of data mining. If measurement data alone vanishes from a publisher’s site, agencies will shut the door costing publishers millions in revenue.

The ICO has been threatening enforcement for nearly five years now, but we’re yet to see that happen. The EU is way ahead of us, with fines already being handed out to the likes of Le Figaro. For the time being, publishers will continue to seek solutions that work for them, and by the end of Q2 perhaps the ICO will finally take action against those who aren’t complying with privacy laws. Overall, this update shows the ICO are not trying to break advertising, simply ensure the law is followed and Publishers are caught in the middle.

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