ACCC warns of reduced competition if Seven West Media is allowed to buy Sunday Times

The proposed Seven West Media acquisition of News Corp’s Sunday Times and may reduce advertising competition, quality and diversity of content in the West Australian market , the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has posed.

The ACCC today released its Statement of Issues on the proposal which would see News Corp’s Sunday Times united with Seven West Media’s daily West Australian.

Sunday Times

In a statement posted to the ASX this morning, ACCC chairman Rod Sims said: “A number of interested parties have expressed concern about the reduction in competition and the impact this would have on quality and diversity of content. A number of advertisers have also raised concern about the loss of competition for advertising opportunities in the print newspapers.

“WAN and News appear to be each other’s closest competitors in print and online news in Western Australia. They compete strongly with each other to attract readers and advertisers.

“The ACCC is seeking to understand whether the competitive tension between WAN and News is a key factor in maintaining quality and diversity of content for readers, or whether the threat of readers shifting to alternatives, particularly alternative online news sites, will competitively constrain WAN after the acquisition.”

The ACCC is seeking to understand whether ad opportunities on other media such as radio, TV and online will constrain WAN’s print advertising pricing.

The watchdog is looking for further information about advertisers aiming at an older demographic as it has been suggested that alternative media platforms are not a competitive option for these advertises.

The ACCChas invited further comment including what the future of the two titles would be if the acquisition was not allowed, and expects to announce its final decision by September 15.


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