The market power on digital advertising exercised by the big tech majors places Indian media companies at a position of disadvantage: MoS Chandrasekhar
The move is being mooted through regulatory interventions, which may happen as part of revisions to the existing IT laws: Chandrasekhar
The rules will likely be framed along the lines of a similar model prevalent in Australia and to some degree in the European Union
Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar has said that the government is planning on making the big tech companies pay a share of their revenues to Indian newspapers and news portals for using the latter’s original content.
“The market power on digital advertising that is currently being exercised by the Big Tech majors, which places Indian media companies at a position of disadvantage, is an issue that is seriously being examined in the context of new legalisations and rules,” Chandrasekhar told the Times of India.
Any such announcement is likely to hit big tech giants such as Google, Meta, Microsoft, Apple, Twitter, and Amazon. While Google owns video platform YouTube and its eponymous search engine, Meta’s portfolio includes platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram.
The platforms have garnered immense eyeballs and growth in the past decade owing to the increasing penetration of smartphones and internet. The big tech firms deploy the content produced by digital media players to grab advertising revenue and viewership, keeping the creators out of the loop.
The rules will likely be framed along the lines of a similar model prevalent in Australia and to some degree in the European Union. The move is being mooted through regulatory interventions, which may happen as part of revisions to the existing IT laws, Chandrasekhar was quoted as saying.
Pointing out the urgency of the matter, he further said, “The news publishers have no negotiating leverage at all, and this needs to be tackled legislatively. This is an important issue for us.”
Abuse Of Dominance?
The statement comes months after a barrage of news organisations opened a front against Google for ‘abuse of dominance in news aggregation’.
In its complaint to the Competition Commission of India (CCI) earlier this year, the Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA) alleged that Google has a monopolistic position in the search market as well as in the advertising intermediation, adding that the search giant controls the major share at each level.
The DNPA also noted that Google unilaterally decides the terms and the amount to be paid to the publishers for the content created by them. The body also alleged that Google leverages revenue and returns much more than publishers.
Based on the complaint, the competition watchdog launched a probe into Google’s alleged abuse of its dominance in news aggregation in January this year.
Afterwards in March, the Indian Newspapers Society also filed a similar contention before the CCI on market abuse by Google. The watchdog accepted the plea and clubbed the two requests.
Meanwhile, the news bodies have been urging the government to model its approach on the policy after countries that have already implemented such norms. Nations such as Australia, France and Spain have passed laws that mandate tech companies to compensate content producers for using their content.
The Australian news code encourages tech giants and news organisations to negotiate payment deals between themselves and has also made provisions for an independent arbitrator to settle the requisite compensation in each case.
In France’s case, the US-based tech giant, last month, agreed to offer newspapers and portals with a ‘transparent’ payment offer within three months of receiving a copyright complaint.