AAP sale of media monitoring service to iSentia sparks monopoly fears from ACCC

iSentiaaap logoThe sale of the Australian Associated Press’ media monitoring service to iSentia would lead to a monopoly in the market, the  Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has found.

In its preliminary investigation of the sale the ACCC has found it would likely result in a “substantial lessening of competition in the national market”, as the AAP and the company formerly known as Media Monitors are the only two national media monitoring services comprising print, broadcast and online.

A Statement of Issues (SoI) released by the ACCC today finds that although there are other small scale media monitoring services in market, iSentia and the AAP are the only two to provide services to large companies with extensive media monitoring requirements

The AAP, whose major shareholders are News Corp and Fairfax Media, has around 300 media monitoring clients including the government departments of education, employment and  workplace relations, the Australian Tax Office, Toyota, Edelman Australia, Suncorp and Stockland Corp.

If it were to sell its media monitoring services the AAP would retain its core editorial business, editorial services business Pagemasters, press release distribution MediaNet and media analysis and intelligence business Media Research Group.

Rod Simms, chairman of the ACCC  said in a statement: “Market inquires have indicated hat iSentia and AAP are the only national providers of a full suite of media monitoring services demanded by large companies and government departments.

“These market participants did not consider that smaller providers of media monitoring services, such as online-only monitoring companies, were likely to constrain iSentia post-acquisition as they do not represent a viable alternative to the broad spectrum of media monitoring  provided by the merger parties.”

The ACCC maintains it is unlikely other media monitors in the market will reach the scale of iSentia and the AAP given the scale, equipment and copyright licences required.

Its decision on the sale has been deferred until February 20, and responses to the Statement of Issues can be submitted until January 31.


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