10/01/2012 09:52 am ET Updated Sep 06, 2013

Ready, Willing and Able? Consumer Attitudes on Data Privacy

The overwhelming majority of consumers are willing to share personal data in exchange for free entertainment and media services, and control and transparency of personal information are the top consumer privacy concerns. Today's consumers are eager for companies to deliver stimulating entertainment and media services -- and for the most part are willing to share personal information to get it, according to a new PwC U.S. report titled, "Consumer privacy: What are consumers willing to share?" A survey of more than 1,000 U.S. participants and follow-up focus groups reveals that getting consumers to share more personal, in-depth data requires companies to offer more valuable benefits in return.

The majority of consumers have accepted the fact that companies collect and use their personal information and are comfortable sharing basic information such as names, addresses, gender and even home phone numbers. This willingness from consumers represents rich opportunities for entertainment and media companies to make the consumer feel in control, remind customers about stability and trust that comes with big companies, consider the benefits of a collective opt-in/opt-out, give back to consumers, consider targeted marketing and communications for younger versus older segments, offer greater incentives through mobile marketing strategies and use email as the best means to communicate with consumers.

Among the key findings on consumers' evolving sentiment towards privacy is that consumers will share their information, if it's beneficial to them. Seventy-three percent of respondents were willing to share their information depending on what they get in return, and the number increased to 76 percent when they were offered free benefits, such as free entertainment and media services.

The more personal the information, the less consumers are willing to share it. Consumers are less willing to share information that compromises their private interests, such as web browsing history and information about their personal social lives, such as texting or call history.

Consumers want to feel more in control through honesty and transparency. An overwhelming majority (87 percent) of survey respondents want to be able to manage what and how personal information is being used.

TV, media and gaming habits are fair game. Most consumers (53-69 percent) are generally willing to share information about their media use because they perceive this type of information as non-personal and want better programming/gaming options.

Most consumers are generally willing to share information about their media use because they perceive this type of information as non-personal and want better programming/gaming options.

Mobile is off limits. Only four percent to 11 percent were willing to share mobile information, a trend driven by what consumers consider to be their lifeline.

Consumers prefer to share information via email, as it is considered less personal and allows more control. Focus group participants noted that they maintain multiple email addresses to help manage "junk" versus "personal" email and control the flow of information easier than through text message.

Don't overstep the privacy boundary. Sixty-one percent of survey respondents said they were not willing to continue to use a company's entertainment and media services or products after it experiences a security breach.

For more information and the full report and short video, please go to