The Guardian calls for new programmatic advertising regime in ACCC response

The Guardian has called for a new, transparent programmatic advertising system in its response to the ACCC’s digital platforms inquiry.

In the paper submitted to the competition regulator’s inquiry, the UK-owned newspaper group proposed a system of ‘programmatic receipting’ that would ensure buyers and sellers knew the price and mark-ups of online advertising.

Guardian Australia managing director Dan Stinton called for a transparent programmatic advertising system in response to the ACCC proposals

The proposed system would see all transactions recorded so advertisers would have a verifiable paper trail of all programmatic transactions, providing transparency to a market that the newspaper group described as ‘opaque by design’.

“Advertisers and publishers are currently operating with a limited understanding of how money is moved around the system, which intermediaries are taking a cut of that transaction, and why,” said the submission filed by Guardian News & Media Australia (GNMA).

“The lack of market information undermines the ability for brands to plan the most effective ways to spend their marketing budgets, or to select the most efficient partners with whom to place marketing spend.

“GNMA believes that by eliminating opacity by design we could begin to restore the link between advertising and the content and activity it funds, creating accountability and generating an impetus for platforms and websites to take greater social responsibility for how they derive revenues from digital advertising.”

In its submission, The Guardian described its experiences in testing the programmatic supply chain in the UK which discovered publishers receive just 30% of online revenues and called on the ACCC to recommend a transparent system.

“GNMA believes that there is a need for the ACCC to consider a step change in accountability through the establishment of a transparent system of receipting for digital advertising transactions in order to shine a light on the activities of digital intermediaries, for the benefit of both advertiser and seller.”

The Guardian went on to say it supported the ACCC’s proposals to restrict digital platforms’ acquisitions and the establishment of new media and advertising regulators along with a call for Australia to adopt a GDPR style privacy regime that would apply to local advertisers and media companies.

The newspaper group also called for news subscriptions to be deductible and exempt for GST but questioned the effectiveness of the government’s Regional and Small Publishers’ Jobs and Innovation package.


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