Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


Develop a First-Party Data Strategy

You should already be working on mitigating the loss of third-party data revenue

When a research study from the National Association of Broadcasters says that broadcast stations could be losing over $2 billion over the next few years, I pay attention. 

The NAB’s PILOT innovation arm has released a report focused on what could happen to radio and television stations’ digital bottom line once third-party cookies are totally phased out. 

“The digital advertising industry is moving away from third-party cookies based on changing user expectations and global regulations,” it states.

“This could create a $2.1 billion loss in annual digital revenue for the broadcast industry.” It estimates that the average multi-station radio cluster could lose as much as $735,000 per year. 

The objective of the “PILOT First-Party Data Direct-to-Consumer Accelerator” is to provide broadcasters with the expertise needed to construct a direct-to-consumer digital business without the use of the third-party cookies. (For background, see my column last summer, “Cookies Are Coming Off the Menu.” 

Radio has a leg up

The good news should be obvious, but it’s easy to miss when one works in broadcasting.

Many digital-only businesses have limited access to consumers and are freaking out. Fortunately, radio has a huge, continuous, direct-to-consumer relationship that is neither controlled nor affected by cookies. How we utilize this huge broadcast asset to harness greater direct digital access is the $2 billion question of the day. 

To simplify: What types of data collection can stations begin now that will enable us to be in the driver’s seat when cookies are toast? And once your newly built data warehouse is collecting and arranging data, how does one monetize it? 

The report speaks to the challenge: “A concise and easy method for passing first-party data and ad calls to the various delivery systems is lacking. Progress is being made in this regard, but not quickly enough for broadcasters who have data ready to feed into these systems,” it states.

“Many broadcasters currently find this to be a laborious, multi-day process to export data from their Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) and into the ad delivery platforms. Additionally, once a data transfer has occurred, it is not available for immediate use. As the time from when the data is collected or updated to when it is used to inform delivery passes by, the data can become stale and less valuable.” 

Now that you’ve got a sense of the scale of this issue, it’s easy to understand why many of the major broadcast companies are attempting to come up with solutions together. 

One thing I’ve enjoyed noting is that the major groups have started to hire digital expertise. That being said, it is important that individual clusters also hire at least one digital data guru to focus on data strategy application, which can translate into revenue generation. 

If you find this subject intriguing, this PILOT report is worthy of your time and good place to start. You’ll find it at After digesting the info, you’ll be ready to explore basics of the Google Privacy Sandbox, Publisher Provided Identifiers and Contextual Targeting. 

The conclusion you will likely draw is simple: To participate in the ever-evolving media landscape, your digital future requires expertise! 

[Sign Up for Radio World’s SmartBrief Newsletter]