2018 has come with GDPR’s drastic measures of restriction. This new regulation involving consent and transparency has led companies to reorganise their way of gathering private information. Guillaume Charles explains how the French broadcaster M6 evolves with GDPR, pointing out the pitfalls to avoid with data collection.
What are the challenges raised by the GDPR in France?
We’re navigating through an uncertain world, with a set of standards that haven’t yet been fully established. What is striking today is that we have different interpretations and varying methods of implementation depending on the players involved. Thankfully, M6 has not been seriously affected, but the context surrounding GDPR has shown the market in general how dangerous it is to be overly dependent on an internet giant. By depending on certain players, one becomes dependent on their legal interpretation of this kind of rule application, and we have seen how this can have significant consequences on revenue. It is essential to diversify tech solutions in order to avoid this sort of issue, which can become a serious problem.
The key word for me is “interoperability”, and it’s a message which should be passed on to advertisers. It means diversifying one’s tech products to avoid this kind of trouble, for example with DSP buying technology, we recommend – where possible – a variety of technological solutions so as not to find oneself in such a situation. In concrete terms, at M6, we made significant efforts to be GDPR-compliant by the day of its roll-out, in preparation. From a legal point of view, this involved the appointment of a DPO to oversee the migration more than a year beforehand, and on a tech level by the installation of a consent platform in compliance with the new regulations.
What are your data supply sources?
We have several, but the main ones are 6play on one hand, and our internet sites on the other.
Has GDPR changed anything for you? Did you have an acceptance form before?
Yes, we did have a form but because we also work on the data with programmatic partners or third-party players, consent needs to be collected for these third parties. Before, there was a consent, but you weren’t obliged to share the fact that you had this consent with the entire technology chain. That’s the principal change for us.
How does this work, in concrete terms?
The idea is to keep the consent form for us, but also in the name of the third-parties who will use the data. There is a technical connection to set up so that these third-parties, by using the data, are aware that they are using consent-given data. We are putting this in place across our various different sites. From a consent point of view, we need to therefore interconnect the entirety of the advertising value chain online.
Who are the third-parties?
They are the DSP – Demand Side Platform, or the buyers – who use the data, the SSP – Supply Side Platform, or the sellers –, and certain DMP – Data Management Platform – advertisers who have a data handling agreement with us, and for whom we have to be sure that we have consent.
Were there any repercussions at M6?
Not really. At M6 we saw very clearly that we had been considerably less affected than other players, who experienced a drop in revenue of up to 40%. On 6play we have a clean and simple data environment with either in-house or third-party partners, so we are not that dependent on online giants. This is why, although we acknowledge that we have to use the online giants, we shouldn’t be completely dependent.
What are the next steps?
To finalise some of the legal and technological aspects of the “consent passages” dossier. To do this, it’s important that the publishers take over our data usage. The key messages are, firstly, the takeover of control, which is to say that we are responsible for consent – we ask for it. And secondly, interoperability, in other words not being dependent on a single technological partner, whether that be on the advertising or publishing side.
And what about e-privacy?
These days we are campaigning so that consent is not just in the hands of the web browsers, otherwise once again the risk is in becoming too dependent on certain players, and we lose control over the ability to collect consent. As for opt-out – people who don’t want targeted advertising – the good news is that a forewarned consumer does not refuse targeted advertising. We have very weak opt-out rates. Sure, the GDPR is a restriction, but we should continue to explain that targeted advertising is better that non-targeted advertising because it is more relevant.
How are you campaigning?
We are making the public authorities aware about how important it is that consent is not only given in the browser, simply because there’s an issue with technology and objectivity around data collection. Television, on catch-up or future addressable advertising, is a very fluid environment. There are fewer intermediaries, and consent is given on a single device. With regards to this data context, the simplicity of the advertising services including ads served on the television monitor means fewer problems than with an internet advertisement, open to a multitude of players and therefore with significant technological and legal complexity. There will be a legal context on data-driven advertising in television which will be a lot safer.
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