Hot off the press! ACCC investigation continues

Last year the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission launched an inquiry into technology giants, including Facebook and Google's role in spreading fake news stories and diverting advertising away from traditional media. 

Now, there's more. 

Australia's competition watchdog has released an issues paper that frames its probe into the impact digital media platforms are having on the advertising market and journalism. 

In Australia, Google provides 95% of digital search services, Facebook is estimated to have 15 million monthly users and both companies account for 40% of advertising revenue, including three-quarters of online advertising revenue. 

The inquiry will consider how digital media platforms impact choice, the quality of media consumed, and their impact on the competition and supply of advertising services. 

Unlike traditional advertising channels, digital platforms offer advertisers significant precision in targeting consumers with specific interests or purchasing patterns. 

Consequently, advertising has become streamlined and more efficient despite there being only a few platforms with the scale and data access to offer such services. A key issue for competitors in the supply of advertising services is understanding the alternatives available to their market. 

The watchdog's inquiry is therefore particularly important for media companies who believe the tech giants benefit through clever journalism, an easy ride with little regulation and paying minimal corporate tax.

The ACCC's issues paper provides clarity over the scope of its inquiry and key dates for commentary, allowing proponents and opponents time to lobby for the scope to be narrowed or broadened.

What do we think? Whilst the inquiry is well and truly needed, is it enough to stop the tsunami that is digital media? We don't think so. Just like the Senate's inquiry into public interest journalism, it will be ruled as insufficient evidence. Either way, it's hot off the press! And, we're watching very closely. What do you think?