Free TV Australia today released a submission to the ACCC’s advertising technology (ad tech) inquiry, calling for reforms that could unlock millions of dollars for Australian media companies.
Ad tech enables advertisers to bid for display and video inventory that is offered for sale by publishers.
Free TV CEO Bridget Fair said: “We are calling for reforms to ensure that there is much greater transparency around where the money is going in the ad tech stack. Every dollar that does not end up in the pockets of publishers means one less dollar to invest in Australian content and local services.
“The problem is that neither advertisers or publishers can see where the money is going and do not have the information required to be able to choose more efficient providers,” Fair said.
The ACCC Digital Platforms Inquiry Final Report found that between 20 to 75 per cent of money spent by advertisers actually finds its way to publishers, with the rest of taken up by suppliers in the ad tech supply chain. These findings were backed up by a recent PwC report in the UK that found that only 51 per cent of money spent by advertisers ends up with publishers.
“Most of these costs were identified by PwC as technology fees in the ad tech stack. However, PwC was not able to account for 15 per cent of the loss of value through the supply chain. It is telling that a world-leading audit firm like PwC struggled to determine where the money is going.
“Reform is needed to increase the amount of pricing transparency for these services. This includes ensuring that there is a consistent approach to logging transactions and a streamlined approach to accessing data so that participants can much more easily track where their money is going.
“Free TV is also calling for the ACCC to create ad tech market rules that would govern the conduct of dominant firms like Google, that enjoy a market share approaching 75 per cent in some segments of the ad tech stack.
“The proposed ad tech market rules would include protections to ensure that advertisers and publishers were free to choose their own technology supplier in response to better pricing information.
“Addressing the inefficiencies in the ad tech stack will make a material difference to the return that publishers receive on their inventory—which directly relates to the sustainability of investment in great Australian content that our community relies upon,” Fair said.
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