why is identity important?
…I don’t know, I don’t know.
Stick around, and it may show,
But I don’t know, I don’t know.
Identity management in media has been largely related to implementations of digital rights management, and that has been primarily driven by a need to protect, track or otherwise contain content.
This largely makes sense. In a world where consumers acquired media from distributers, the role of rights was to equate ‘distribution rights’ in its many varied forms with contractual rights and specifically with money. In fact, I have often argued that Digital Asset Management was really a digital manifestation of linking virtual content to metadata, and what really defined ‘Asset’ in this equation was not the concept of bits as the asset, but rather the idea for really treating it (the content) as a financial asset i.e. it had to have rights and usage very carefully built into the system.
But I digress.
As consumers started to acquire content, the need to track rights became ever so much more important. Those in the industry know that many large content producers used to track distribution rights in spreadsheets. Often those sheets were out of sync with the reality of their filed paper contracts. Try doing that with millions of users, instead of scores of distributors… and you see why identity starts getting real important, real fast.
As the IT bods started playing up the importance of identity management for all things security-wise and finance-wise, things like single sign-on became increasingly in vogue. Correspondingly, other uses for identity became quite apparent.
What of all of the media properties and websites where people log-in for access or opt-out for contact?
Think of all the disparate databases…
What if you could aggregate that information and target some ads to the same person regardless of screen?
Identity Management suddenly seems really attractive.
But is it really necessary?
Sorry, but at this juncture, not really. If you’re laying down the infrastructure for a purely digital media experience, then sure, but if you’re trying to put the toothpaste back into your corporate tube – probably too late – unless of course you want to indulge in personally targeted advertising services… but then, who’d buy them?
While it may be the dream of marketers, the science of understanding how to sell personalized ads is yet to be defined, and the scalability is currently beyond comprehension, pricing, measurability and valuation.
At this stage, most media companies still have difficulty in targeting by geographic, by demographic, by psychometric and defining their audience valuations in all but the simplest terms. When the marketing community really needs to sell specific items of garbage to me, at my identity address, then these issues will be solved. Oh wait… what was that latest spam for working from home? You mean its already happening?
Tell me it isn’t so… I’m listening.