On September 27, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) published the long-awaited final report of its Digital Advertising Services Inquiry. The inquiry, focusing on online display advertising, began in February 2020 following a request from the Treasury and comes after the ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry that concluded in 2019. The report aligns with many other investigations conducted by national competition regulators around the world in finding that Google has a dominant market position in the ad tech industry. The lack of competition has likely resulted in higher digital ad fees and lower publisher ad revenues, which leads to less and lower quality content. The report makes six recommendations to address the situation, including increasing transparency in the ad tech markets, authorizing the ACCC to promulgate rules to regulate the market, and addressing competition issues caused by data advantage. The report notes that these measures are necessary as enforcement under existing competition laws is not sufficient. The ACCC is expected to discuss how these recommendations should be given effect in another report to be published in September 2022. Read the full report here.
Johannes Munter is an outside consultant for the News/Media Alliance.