NXT welcomes the Government fulfilling its promise to ask the ACCC to hold an inquiry on the impact that digital platforms are having on the media and advertising landscape in Australia.
The inquiry was pushed by the Nick Xenophon Team, as part of its negotiations with Government on media reform, because of the party's concerns with the market distorting power of internet giants such as Google and Facebook.
"This inquiry will be important as it will expose the tactics search engines and social media platforms have employed to hoard advertising dollars, the conditions they have forced media organisations to accept, and the part they have played in the gradual erosion of the media’s bottom line," NXT's communications spokesperson, Senator Stirling Griff, said.
"They need to be called to account for their behaviour and lack of transparency, which is irrefutably having an impact on Australian media organisations."
Digital advertising now accounts for almost half of the Australian advertising market and traditional media is taking an increasingly shrinking share. Google’s parent company Alphabet and Facebook are expected to take half of the world’s internet advertising revenue this year.
"Of course, the digital duopoly do not bear all the responsibility for the media’s current woes, but they also need to accept that their hands are not clean. This inquiry will mean they will no longer be able to claim, with a straight face, that their actions have all been fair play in an open competitive market, and that the problem lies solely with the traditional media business model," Senator Griff said.
"In the end the inquiry should tell us if the market is being distorted and dominated, the fairness and need for better commercial terms for content providers, whether advertisers are getting a good deal and what the future holds with innovation and technological change."
The plan for the ACCC inquiry was first flagged in September, and Google has since ended its policy of requiring publishers to give away at least three free articles a day via Google search before users hit a paywall, and will now allow publishers to decide how much content, if any, they give away.
"We are glad that global pressure is finally forcing these internet giants to wind back some of the uncompetitive conditions they have imposed on publishers to date."