EU Plans Laws That Could Topple Big Tech; TV Networks Are In Debt To Their Advertisers

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Breaking Big Tech?

A set of strict new EU privacy laws now under discussion could be the basis for breaking up the big tech platforms, Business Insider reports. The first drafts of the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act (DMA) were unveiled this week, and although the duo are still a long way from being passed or imposed, they could in time have serious implications for Google and other major players, including Facebook, Amazon and Apple. For example, the proposals include a provision that calls for potential “structural remedies” (aka, a breakup) if a large technology firm is fined for anticompetitive behavior three times in the space of five years. If the DMA had existed in the past, there’s a good chance that Google would have already been forced to “undertake a divestiture of part of its business,” said Amanda Brock, CEO of the nonprofit OpenUK. Still, the prospect of a Google breakup in Europe is probably far away. Regulators move slowly, and as evidenced by Google's ongoing appeals against its fines, the search giant will likely challenge any action in court. "What really matters is enforcement," said Sophie Dembinski, head of public policy at rival search firm Ecosia. "The EU has now ruled against Google's dominance three times in the last three years for anticompetitive practices in shopping, advertising and search,” she said. “Each of these decisions handed out large fines – but these fines remain unpaid and dominance in each sector has continued, fully unabated."

Bills Are Due

TV networks are overdue on their bills to advertisers. According to Digiday, those debts have continued to pile up in the fourth quarter, further tightening the already constrained TV ad market and pushing networks to prioritize wiping their ledgers. As traditional TV viewership has slipped over the past several years, TV networks have fallen short of the viewership guarantees made to advertisers and accumulated debts in the form of makegoods. These so-called “liabilities” have stacked up even more during Q4 with lower-than-expected viewership for major sports, as college football games have been canceled and traditional fall programming pipelines were disrupted by the pandemic. Ratings are down significantly, and probably to a greater degree than anyone had modeled, an agency exec told  Digiday. One way some networks are looking to settle their debts is by simply offering advertisers their money back, rather than setting aside inventory to make up for the missed guarantees. But advertisers that aren’t interested in the cashback offers may not be willing to wait around for all that long.

DV & The MRC

Ad verification company DoubleVerify has gotten the nod from the Media Rating Council (MRC), which extended the company’s accreditations to include DV’s impression and viewability measurement and reporting for display and video ads on Facebook and Instagram. Read the release. The move marks the first time a third-party solution has been accredited by the MRC for integrated viewable impression measurement on a large digital platform such as Facebook. DV’s third-party integrated measurement solution allows clients to see their media spend across all digital platforms and environments, and the MRC accreditation of DV’s viewability solution with Facebook and Instagram marks an important move to increase transparency within the industry, the company said. MRC accreditation verifies that a measurement service’s procedures, controls, disclosures and reporting meet established industry standards for validity, reliability and effectiveness. The accreditation comes on the heels of Twitter announcing Monday a first-of-its-kind preferred partnership with verification vendors DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science. That pact expands Twitter’s current partnership with both vendors beyond viewability measurement to provide independent reporting on the context in which ads appear on the platform. [Related in AdExchanger: “DoubleVerify Chief Mark Zagorski On The Expansion Into The Sell Side”].

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