First-party data. For the most part, I have not heard publishers talk about anything else all year, because they know it's the best way to be self-reliant and to push revenues higher. The duopoly are currently being taken to task by data regulators in Europe, particularly in Dublin and London.
However, I would suggest that publishers keeping their data behind their own walled garden will do as much to tackle the duopoly's power as any official investigation into data use by the tech giants.
There are a couple of trends coming together here. Publishers are waking up to the fact that it is they who invest in the great content that generates data, and yet they are not always the ones to profit from it.
Data leaks out of publishers and makes money for the duopoly, which always seems to know what you have been reading up on or which purchases you have been considering.
Now the move is to publishers, to collect their own data and then guard it like the crown jewels.
There is another obvious development here. The cookie is crumbling.
Google's Chrome is set to make it easier to resist third-party cookies -- and as such, it is a year or more behind Safari and Firefox, which have banned third-party cookies, or allowed them to be rejected at the browser level.
This will all become a moot point once the ePrivacy Directive becomes law at the end of the year or some time next year. It is due to force all browsers to allow users to reject third-party cookies through one setting that never needs to be reset with constant pop-ups about allowing cookies.
So publishers have known for some time there will be virtually no third-party tracking cookies in the near future, and this means they need to work on first party data.
I was talking with one senior executive the other day who made the point that Facebook or Google would not give away data about a user, so why would publishers. The walled garden is the next level in publishers taking the fight to the duopoly.
This is no longer an ambition. It's happening among the big publishers who can afford their own data management platform (DMP) -- and it will see a major shift in power back to the people who create content rather than those who have so far been sucking up the data it creates.