Beyond the Third Party Play: How to Build a First-Party Data Operation for Your Media Business

Beyond the Third Party Play: How to Build a First-Party Data Operation for Your Media Business

The Innovation in Media World Report provides a comprehensive snapshot of the key technological paradigms that publishers need to navigate in order to keep their businesses relevant and thriving in the years ahead. The book is now available available to purchase.

Brace yourselves for the cookiepocalypse!

And then breathe…and start to look beyond, for there is life after the cookie (and other types of third-party data). In fact, it could be a far better world for publishers, one they may even have a key role in shaping as a part of the digital advertising system finally hives off from Big-Tech and the hellish world of scale, clicks and eyeballs that they have imposed on us for decades.


This is an exciting story and a potentially pivotal moment for media but before we dive full on into Google Chrome and the proposed phase- out of third party cookies in 2023 (itself an event that has had many twists and turns), let’s go back a bit and take a look at digital advertising from two perspectives. The first is the story of the news business and publishers over the last two years when the media business as we knew it seemed to be turning on its head. As advertising spends cratered across the globe and other businesses looked doomed, a surge

in demand for news and online subscriptions provided media businesses with a ray of hope. Editors, CEOs and digital leaders invested in reader-focused business models and moved to launch paywalls. The big stories of 2020, particularly interest in Covid, carried some momentum into early 2021, but of course it couldn’t last. By January this year, outlets like Axios were reporting that news engagement had fallen off a cliff over the past year as compared to the extraordinary news cycle that the Trump era and the onset of Covid provided.

By the middle of 2021, another seismic shift was underway. Advertising was rebounding from the Covid-slump, and rebounding big. “Welcome to the roaring ‘20s,” was how the global media investment company GroupM described the scene in their mid-year forecast for 2021, noting that they expected digital advertising to grow by 33% for the year. Those gains would continue into 2022 with ad spend- ing poised to grow 9.7 percent to $836.9 billion, GroupM said, by the end of the year. And so in a topsy-turvy way, completely emblematic of the times we live in, the message was once again reinforced to publishers: when thinking of business models, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Aim for flexibility and for a mixed- business model, because the loss of ad money overnight may have precipitated a round of useful and productive soul-searching, but ad money is definitely key to the recovery

The Innovation in News Media World Report is published every year by INNOVATION Media Consulting, in association with FIPP. The report is co-edited by INNOVATION Consultants Juan Senor, Ines Bravo and Jayant Sriram.