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Online News Dissemination

  • IASbaba
  • October 14, 2022
  • 0
Science and Technology
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In News: The News Broadcasters and Digital Association (NBDA) approached the Competition Commission of India (CCI) against search-engine operator Google, alleging that the latter had deprived them of their justifiable revenue acquired from news dissemination on the tech-giant’s platforms.

  • The complaint would be clubbed with similar cases filed by the Indian Newspaper Society (INS) in February this year and the Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA) last year.

About:

  • The traditional newspaper industry in India has sustained itself on a business model wherein advertising accounts for two-third of its total revenue.
  • However, with online proliferation, there is an increased reliance of news publishers on digital ad revenues, and in turn, tech-based companies.
  • Search engines like Google are an important determinant in online news consumption. Readers would more often opt for an online web search rather than reaching out to a specific news website by typing its URL in a browser. This has made search-engines the first port of call for information online.
  • A news website sells advertising spaces on its platform through ad-exchanges.
  • In addition to this, Google also operates a platform that manages a publisher’s sale of online ads and tools to purchase display ad space.

 Allegations against Google:

  • Dominance of Google: Google’s search engine commands a 94% market share in the country. More than half of the total traffic on news websites is routed through Google. The search engine, by way of its algorithms and internal quality vetting, determines which news websites would be prioritised in search queries.
  • Google not compensated news publishers for their contribution to (Google’s various) platforms and has engaged in practices to bolster its monopoly in the space. The DNPA had put forth that website publishers receive only 51% of the advertisement revenue.
  • “Unilateral and non-transparent” determination and sharing of ad revenues, lack of transparency and information asymmetry in the ad-tech services provided by Google. This bothers the quality of services and innovation in the news realm.
  • Publishers have been “forced” to integrate content on their platforms and use its buying tool, Google Ads/DV 360, to receive bids from advertisers.
  • Encouraging members to disable header bidding – It refers to a programmatic bidding process that unifies multiple exchanges for a single bidding event.
  • “Forcing” members into using their Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) or building mirror-like ‘light-weight’ webpages. However, it restricted paywall options unless publishers rebuild their websites as per AMP standards.
  • Google represents the buyer and the seller in the same transaction, while also operating the auction house in the middle, and selling its own inventory.

What is happening outside India?

  • European Publishers Council filed an anti-trust complaint against Google.
  • Australia introduced the ‘Media Bargaining Code’ to address the imbalance.

Source: The Hindu             

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