European publishers today (Friday, February 11th) filed an antitrust complaint against Google for what it says is anti-competitive conduct in advertising technology. The EPC (which is a Member of the News Media Coalition) is calling upon the European Commission to hold Google accountable and impose remedies to restore conditions of effective competition in the ad tech value chain.
EPC Chairman Christian Van Thillo said: ‘It is high time for the European Commission to impose measures on Google that actually change, not just challenge, its behaviour – behaviour that has caused and continues to cause considerable harm, not just to Europe’s press publishers, but to all advertisers and eventually consumers in the form of higher prices (including ad tech fees), less choice, less transparency and less innovation.’
He added: ‘The stakes are too high, particularly for the future viability of funding a free and pluralistic press. We call on the Commission to take concrete steps right now that will actually break the stranglehold that Google has over us all.’
Google said publishers benefit from its adtech services. “When publishers choose to use our advertising services, they keep the majority of revenue and every year we pay out billions of dollars directly to the publishing partners in our ad network,” a Google spokesperson said.
The EPC believes the European Commission is uniquely positioned to act on the complaint, and can leverage the findings of a number of competition authorities, including the French competition authority, the UK Competition and Markets Authority, and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, as well as the findings in the US States lawsuit.