Government announces inquiry into platform competition

Amy Owens

The Government has released the terms of reference for the Furman Review on digital competition in the UK, chaired by Professor Jason Furman (pictured).

The Furman Review, supported by an expert panel, is to examine the UK’s competition regime in the context of the digital economy and how this affects consumers. Further, it will assess the impact of competition policy on the UK’s growth, productivity, wages and labour markets.

The review is focusing on investigating:

  • the impacts of the emergence of a small number of big players in digital markets, including social media, e-commerce, search and online advertising
  • appropriate approaches to mergers, takeovers and anticompetitive practices in digital markets
  • opportunities to enhance competition to increase business innovation and expand consumer choice
  • how best to assess consumer impacts in ad-funded products and services that are “free” to consumers

PPA Managing Director Owen Meredith commented: “This is an important review, sitting alongside the Cairncross Review of press sustainability, and offers a welcome opportunity to explore whether the rules and regulations governing competition in the digital economy are fit for purpose. The digital environment is dominated by a small number of tech giants. The PPA has called for a competition inquiry into the digital advertising market, where some platforms offer little transparency and fail to provide publishers and creators with a fair share of value.”

Furman, former Economic Advisor to Barack Obama, will be joined on the panel by Professors Diane Coyle, Amelia Fletcher, Derek McAuley and Philip Marsden. Appointed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, the panel is comprised of leading experts in their respective fields of economics, technology and law.

The panel will run from September 2018 to early 2019. Its work will culminate in a final report of recommendations for the Government.

The PPA will be contributing to this review over the next few months to give a voice to magazine and business media publishers. For further information, contact PPA Public Affairs Executive Amy Owens.




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