Consumers Are Split on What Media Platforms Should Do With Their Data

Plus, how they feel about paying for content according to a new Adweek-Harris Poll survey

By KATHRYN LUNDSTROM | Adweek | April 16, 2021

The conversations swirling around the media and ad-tech industriesthese days hinge on consumer privacy—but in the midst of several changes to the way data is collected, it’s likely to be a while before consumer sentiment related to data collection responds to those changes.

Consumers don’t feel in control of their data

A new survey conducted by Adweek and Harris Poll showed that despite significant shifts in favor of consumer privacy over the past year, only 23% of more than 1,000 U.S. respondents said they feel they have more control over how their data is collected, stored and shared versus this time last year.

That sense of control varies greatly by age, though—while 36% of Gen Z said they feel more in control of their data now than they did last year, that slightly drops to 35% for millennials and plummets to 7% for baby boomers.

Less than a third of consumers feel more in control of their data now than they did a year ago.

Most consumers don’t pay for news subscriptions—but sentiment varies by generation

Of those surveyed, 75% said they don’t currently pay a subscriber fee to access news content online, and 54% said they’d be unlikely to pay if a previously free platform put up a paywall. Still, an overwhelming 84% of those who do pay a subscriber fee feel that it’s fair based on the content they get access to.

The survey also showed that millennials are by far the most likely to pay for their online news—44% of that cohort pays, versus 30% of Gen Z, 23% of Gen X and 9% of baby boomers.

But if a news site switched to a subscription model, it’s Gen Z that’s most likely to pay the fee. More than half (52%) of Gen Z respondents said they’d pay a fee if a paywall went up on content they currently consume, while 32% of millennials, 27% of Gen X and just 6% of baby boomers would as well.

A narrow majority of consumers remain in favor of personalization

Over half (56%) of consumers surveyed reported that they want the news and content they get from platforms to be personalized based on their interests, tastes and online activity. An even higher majority (65%) said news and media platforms are doing a good job of personalizing content. But for the 28% who don’t want personalization, around half (49%) said it’s because they don’t want their online activity tracked.

Personalization preferences vary by generation.

Around half of consumers who don’t want personalized content say it’s because they don’t want to be tracked online.

Read the full story at Adweek.