The Future of TV - Linear vs. Streaming and beyond

Very important report from ACCC on digital platform services.

List of recommendations

Consumer recommendations

Recommendation 1: Economy-wide consumer measures

The ACCC continues to recommend the introduction of new and expanded economy-wide consumer measures, including an economy-wide prohibition against unfair trading practices and strengthening of the unfair contract terms laws.

These reforms, alongside targeted digital platform specific obligations, would assist in addressing some of the consumer protection concerns identified for digital platform services.

Recommendation 2: Digital platform specific consumer measures

The ACCC recommends additional targeted measures to protect users of digital platforms, which should apply to all relevant digital platform services, including:
• Mandatory processes to prevent and remove scams, harmful apps and fake reviews including:
o a notice-and-action mechanism
o verification of certain business users
o additional verification of advertisers of financial services and products
o improved review verification disclosures
o public reporting on mitigation efforts.
• Mandatory internal dispute resolution standards that ensure accessibility, timeliness, accountability, the ability to escalate to a human representative and transparency.
• Ensuring consumers and small business have access to an independent external ombuds scheme.

Competition recommendations

Recommendation 3: Additional competition measures for digital platforms

The ACCC recommends the introduction of additional competition measures to protect and promote competition in markets for digital platform services. These should be implemented through a new power to make mandatory codes of conduct for ‘designated’ digital platforms based on principles set out in legislation.

Each code would be for a single type of digital platform service (i.e. service-specific codes) and contain targeted obligations based on the legislated principles. This would allow flexibility to tailor the obligations to the specific competition issues relevant to that service as these change over time.

These codes would only apply to ‘designated’ digital platforms that meet clear criteria relevant to their incentive and ability to harm competition.

Recommendation 4: Targeted competition obligations

The framework for mandatory service-specific codes for Designated Digital Platforms (proposed under Recommendation 3) should support targeted obligations based on legislated principles to address, as required:
• anti-competitive self-preferencing
• anti-competitive tying
• exclusive pre-installation and default agreements that hinder competition
• impediments to consumer switching
• impediments to interoperability
• data-related barriers to entry and expansion, where privacy impacts can be managed
• a lack of transparency
• unfair dealings with business users
• exclusivity and price parity clauses in contracts with business users.
The codes should be drafted so that compliance with their obligations can be assessed clearly and objectively. Obligations should be developed in consultation with industry and other stakeholders and targeted at the specific competition issues relevant to the type of service to which the code will apply. The drafting of obligations should consider any justifiable reasons for the conduct (such as necessary and proportionate privacy or security justifications).

Free TV welcomes ACCC’s recommended approach to regulating big tech

Free TV Australia today welcomed the release of the ACCC’s Digital Platform Service Inquiry Regulatory Reform Report that recommends new codes of conduct to address the competition issues that arise from the conduct of the big tech platforms, together with enhanced consumer protections.

Free TV Australia chief executive Bridget Fair said: “We have consistently argued that the right approach to addressing the anti-competitive conduct of the digital platforms is through targeted mandatory codes of conduct.

“We are pleased that the ACCC has accepted this position and has now formally recommended to Government that binding codes be established to prohibit anti-competitive conduct.

In particular, Free TV welcomes the recommendations for codes of conduct that would address:

  • Self-preferencing – the favourable treatment given to the platform’s own products and services, such as promoting YouTube content in Google search results, or app store operators favouring their own apps.
  • Bundling and tying – consumers and businesses being forced to use the platform’s own apps and services instead of those offered by competitors.
  • Data-related barriers to entry and expansion – the use of data by the platforms, collected through the provision of unrelated services, to gain an advantage in other markets such as targeted advertising and ad tech.
  • Interoperability restrictions – preventing artificial competition barriers being created by tech giants by refusing to make their products and services interoperable with the products and services of their competitors.
  • Imposition of unfair contract terms – the unfair contract terms imposed by platforms on businesses.

“This report puts Australia in step with international developments, such as in the EU, where legislation has already been introduced to modernise competition and consumer law in the face of the power and dominance of big tech platforms like Google, Meta and Apple.

“The fact is that the longer we take to get the necessary legislation in place to enact the ACCC’s recommendations, the harder reform will become as the tentacles of the dominant platforms continue to expand across the economy.

“We strongly support the findings of the ACCC that we cannot rely on our existing laws to promote competition and protect consumers in the face of digital platforms of the size, scale and complexity that we face today.

“We urge the Albanese Government to quickly move to implement the ACCC’s recommendations, through the development of the necessary legislation, to be followed quickly by the implementation of the required codes,” Ms Fair said.

Seven welcomes ACCC report on digital platform services

Seven West Media (ASX: SWM) has welcomed the range of new measures the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has recommended to address harms from digital platforms to Australian consumers, small businesses and competition.

The fifth report of the ACCC’s five-year Digital Platform Services Inquiry has proposed mandatory codes of conduct for certain platforms and services to protect and promote competition.

The obligations it proposes will help to prevent anti-competitive self-preferencing, tying and exclusive pre-installation arrangements; data advantages; ensure fair treatment of business users; and improve switching, interoperability and transparency.

Seven West Media Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, James Warburton, said: “The ACCC’s ongoing research and analysis of market conduct by digital platforms is among the most advanced in the world.

“The recommendations in this report are considered and appropriate and Seven West Media urges the Government to act swiftly on the ACCC’s recommendation, particularly the codes that address the competition harms caused by these very powerful gatekeepers and intermediaries.”

Deadline sat down virtually with CBC/Radio-Canada CEO and President and Global Task Force Chair Catherine Tait, ABC Managing Director David Anderson and Paul Thompson, CEO of New Zealand’s RNZ, to get their views on the global and domestic future of public broadcasting, before Tait’s speech at The Public Broadcasters International conference in Tokyo last week.

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