The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will not oppose the proposed acquisition ofThe Sunday Times and perthnow.com.au from News Corporation by Seven West Media.
“The ACCC received a significant amount of feedback about diversity and quality of news from consumers in Western Australia. We also listened carefully to concerns raised by businesses who advertise in West Australian newspapers,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
“Following an extensive review, the ACCC has reached the view that the proposed acquisition is, on balance, not likely to substantially lessen competition for either consumers or advertisers.”
“On the consumer side, the large decline in print newspaper readership formed a major part of our analysis. Many consumers in Western Australia are now getting their news online or from other sources,” Sims said.
“With regards to SWM’s ownership of thewest.com.au and the proposed acquisition of perthnow.com.au, we gave consideration to other online news alternatives for West Australians, including Fairfax’s WAtoday.com.au and ABC News’ dedicated Western Australian website.”
Although some advertisers raised concerns about the loss of competition for advertising opportunities, most acknowledged that print advertising was of declining importance and identified other advertising options they could switch to if WAN attempted to increase rates.
“Advertising expenditure in print newspapers in Perth is in steep decline. Most of the advertisers we spoke to after publishing the Statement of Issues are spending less on print newspapers than a few years ago and are finding alternative ways of reaching target audiences, including via digital media,” Sims said.