Monday, 04 March 2019 11:19

Nine backs ACCC-run regulatory regime for digital platforms Featured

Nine backs ACCC-run regulatory regime for digital platforms Image by PIRO4D on Pixabay

Nine Entertainment has called for a regime to regulate dominant digital platforms — aka Google and Facebook — which would be administered by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and new powers for the competition watchdog to issue rules in order to encourage more competition.

In a submission in response to the ACCC's preliminary digital platforms inquiry report, Nine also said the introduction of a tax offset for news and a personal tax deduction for subscriptions would help address the level of production of news and journalistic content in the country.

The ACCC, in its preliminary report, said it had concluded that Google had substantial market power in online search, search advertising and news referral while Facebook had similar clout in markets for social media, display advertising and online news referral.

Among the preliminary recommendations were those aiming to address Google and Facebook’s market power and promote increased consumer choice, including a proposal that would prevent Google’s browser Chrome being installed as the default on mobile devices, computers and tablets and Google’s search engine being the default search engine on browsers.

Nine, which now includes all the properties of the former Fairfax Media, said it backed the watchdog's recommendations on search engine choices, an ombudsman for digital platforms and verification of metrics.

It also expressed support for the standard recommendation for mandatory take-down in the case of copyright infringement.

The company said it had had better outcomes in monetising its content through Google, compared to Facebook as the strictures put in place by the latter prevented it from earning what it considered a fair return on its content.

Nine inherited a commercial relationship with Google which had been put in place by Fairfax Media with which it merged in December 2018.

The company called for oversight of the news media "through the development of a code which addresses the ranking of journalistic content, copyright compliance and advertising regulatory parity".

But it did not offer support for the ACCC's recommendation to address broader privacy concerns, serious invasions of privacy or unfair contract terms.

"These are secondary matters in the current context and will not, in Nine’s view, move the dial in terms of addressing the substantial market power exercised by digital platforms," the submission said.

The submission complements those issued by Free TV Australia, the Australian Press Council and NewsMediaWorks.


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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.



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