ACC digital platforms and ad-tech inquiries

The Morrison Government has directed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to undertake a long‑term inquiry into digital platforms and to undertake an 18 month inquiry into advertising technology (‘ad‑tech’) as part of its response to the ACCC’s Digital Platforms Report.

In December 2017, the ACCC was directed by the Government to inquire into the impact of digital platform services on the state of competition in media and advertising services markets. The Inquiry formed part of a package of reforms to modernise and update Australia’s media laws.

The ACCC conducted an extensive and detailed inquiry over 18 months and provided the Government with a substantial Final Report setting out 23 recommendations to respond to the substantial market power that had arisen through the growth of digital platforms, their impact on competition, and implications for news media businesses, advertisers and consumers.

As part of the Government’s response to the ACCC’s report on 12 December 2019, the Government agreed that the ACCC will continue to inquire into digital platforms until 31 March 2025. An interim report will be provided to the Treasurer on 30 September 2020.

The ad-tech inquiry will focus on technologies facilitating the supply of online advertising to Australian consumers. These technologies gather information about consumers and use it to target them with highly personalised advertising. The inquiry will be completed by 31 August 2021, with an interim report to be released by 31 December 2020.

Digital technologies are going to be an increasingly important part of our economic and social landscape. Our reforms will ensure we get the balance right and position Australia as a leading digital economy.

The Government is delivering a regulatory framework that is fit for purpose and better protects and informs Australian consumers, addresses bargaining power imbalances between digital platforms and media companies, and ensures privacy settings remain appropriate in the digital age.

The terms of reference for both inquiries are available on the ACCC’s website.

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