Culture Secretary calls for investigation into digital advertising market

Louisa Cavell

Following publication of the Cairncross review, which made nine key recommendations on to support the long-term sustainability of quality journalism, Culture Secretary Rt Hon Jeremy Wright MP has written to the Competition and Markets Authority encouraging them to launch an investigation into the digital advertising market

Speaking in Parliament following publication of the Review, Mr Wright said:

“The review proposes that the Competition and Markets Authority conduct a market study of the digital advertising market. The purpose of this study would be to examine whether the online marketplace is operating effectively and whether it enables or prevents fair competition. It is right that policy makers and regulators have an accurate understanding of how the market operates and check that it is enabling fair competition, and I have today written to the CMA in support of this study.”

The Culture Secretary added: 

“Online advertising now represents a growing part of the economy and forms an important revenue stream for many publishers, but this burgeoning market is largely opaque and extremely complex, and it is impossible to know whether the revenue shares received by news publishers are fair.”

He added that he would he would urge Professor Jason Furman to treat the review as additional evidence in his ongoing inquiry into digital competition in the UK, which findings are due to be published in the spring.

The PPA has supported calls for the CMA to investigate transparency and the value chain in digital advertising, and urged Dame Frances to make this recommendation in our submission to her Review.

A PPA Spokesman commented:

“Publishers are reaching larger audiences than ever, with multi-channel content, including content that is read and shared on social media platforms. These global digital platforms have become a significant player in the supply chain between publishers and readers and yet the value chain often fails to provide a return which adequately supports continued investment in content by publishers.”

“We therefore welcome the recommendation that the Competition and Markets Authority conduct a market study into the ‘complex and opaque’ online advertising market, and the Secretary of State’s swift action in writing to the CMA.

Another recommendation of the Cairncross Review is to create a new code of conduct to address the unbalanced relationship between publishers and the online platforms. The Review recommends that platforms should be required to set out codes of conduct to govern their commercial arrangements with news publishers, overseen by a regulator which “once approved… can form the basis for individual negotiations between publishers and online platforms.”

For more information, please contact Owen Meredith






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