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Rise of the First Party Data

Death of the third-party cookies, Apple’s push for privacy, the rise of subscriptions and why your organization must invest in first-party data program- Hashbrown Systems’ hot take.


Guru Cingh

I will start with a trick question - Which company has an excellent first-party data program and was established before Google?


More Indians are paying for Netflix subscription than Google products.

Let’s try another one - Which media company’s primary source of revenue if subscriptions, has a first-party data program and serves targeted advertisements to its readers?

The New York Times.

Here is an excerpt from tech analyst Ben Evans’ recent essay -

Apple's privacy clampdown will hit imminently, with iOS 14.5 both switching Apple's IDFA tool to opt-in (IDFA lets you track a user from an ad through an app install to first use) and introducing ATT, a rule requiring developers to get standardised consent to any cross-app or cross-site user tracking. Combined with Chrome turning off cross-site cookies in the next 18 months, the whole online ad business is changing.

And a DigiDay Report 1

After years of relying on the third-party cookie to prospect for new customers via retargeting and lookalike targeting, marketers, particularly retailers and e-commerce brands, will need to turn to alternative ways to mine for product sales.

And facts on The New York Times-

62% of the NYT’s revenue comes from subscriptions, and only 27% comes from advertising (and ad revenue is falling year over year). This means that views aren’t as important as subscriptions—and a front-page full of clickbait would likely scare off potential subscribers.

For media - Subscriptions have become more important than advertisements. There are a few media houses in India - The Ken, Mint, The Print and The Wire to name a few, which are increasingly depending on the subscriber-based model. More often than not, they depend on the reader’s goodwill than the threat to turn off the news hose, but they are getting there. 

With digital ads and lookalike audiences - you are targeting your niche audience but so is your competition and also the non-competition. That is a needless price increase for ads. Better targeting is possible, but I am not here to talk about that.

We are rejoicing the death of third-party cookies and whatever Apple is doing (Blessed be thy products and privacy policy). We have been true believer and practitioner of First-Party Data Analytics, processing and building software and applications using the same. When it comes to data analytics, machine learning and application of AI we bring in deep operational experience and reliability - in understanding users, markets and creating enterprise software that processes and employs first-party data.

Additionally, our diverse team brings cross-functional expertise in solving some seriously complex business problems.

This is the first discourse of many to follow where we shall talk about building a sustainable first-party data program for your organization. If you would like to jump the line, feel free to contact the wonderful people of Hashbrown.


Over the last two years, three if you include 2020, I interacted with many in leadership roles in the Indian Out-of-home media industry. The experience on more than one occasion left me baffled at their myopic vision for the industry. It did make me question Hashbrown Systems’ insistence on never going for short term gains. Thankfully our vision was reinforced when the same leaders were compelled to step down. Their organisations were once again in search of visionaries who can steer the organisations during these radical times.

Hashbrown Systems’ investment in long term gains does end up being counterproductive to our bottom line, but the Gods save us - partly because we have a team of excellent people who do excellent work in Financial Analytics, Big Data, Media and Advertising, Business Sales, IoT and Cloud computing to name a few. We are your veritable house of innovation and we have products for various walks of life.

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