Welcome to the first 2022 issue. This time, it is almost all about reckoning with Big Tech: Google under surveillance ● Publishers ask Facebook to show the money ● Google News Showcase is not a platform, but a publisher. More transparency, please! ● Der Spiegel jubilee at 75.
BIG THEMES | GERMANY AGAINST BIG TECH, PART 1
Bundeskartellamt tightens abuse control at Google.
On 5 January, the German Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt, or BKartA) announced that tech giant Alphabet and its subsidiary Google would be an application case for the supervision of large digital corporations.
So says the Cartel Office: Google represents an “outstanding cross-market significance” (in German: “überragende marktübergreifende Bedeutung”) for competition, decides the Federal Cartel Office.
Why it matters: For the first time, the internet giant will be subject in Germany to extended supervision. That means, in other words, that the BKartA can intervene earlier and more effectively to stop anti-competitive practices.
The examination has already started: a ban on favouring its offers in the search engine would also be possible within a few months.
How long? Categorising Google/Alphabet as a subject of “outstanding cross-market significance”, allows the surveillance to go for the next five years, as stated by the German Act against Restraints of Competition (Gesetzes gegen Wettbewerbsbeschränkungen, Section 19a GWB).
Beyond competition, implications for the Press. The case of Google News Showcase will be, too, a case for the press protection law, which has entered into force in 2021. Already mid-2021, the German Bundeskartellamt announced that it would examine whether the contractual conditions unreasonably disadvantage the participating publishers and make it disproportionately difficult for them to enforce the press publishing ancillary copyright.
- 05.01.22 WELT Op-ed “Now there is finally the instrument against Google & Co.”, Jetzt gibt es endlich das Instrument gegen Google & Co, (DEU) (FREE):“Tech giant Google may soon no longer have it so easy: In future, the Federal Cartel Office will be able to intervene before the company abuses its overwhelming market power. The first step towards such measures has already been taken. Meanwhile, the EU is also gearing up.” Read more.
- 06.01.22 F.A.Z. Analysis on the European Regulations “Nägel mit Schraubenziehern einschlagen” “Drive nails with screwdrivers” (DEU) (PAID): “The EU Commission wants to regulate digital giants like Google, Meta and Amazon with two laws. This will not work. Brussels is repeating the mistakes it made with the Basic Data Protection Regulation.”
BIG THEMES | GERMANY AGAINST BIG TECH, PART 2
Corint Media demands 190 million euros from Facebook in 2022.
The news, in a nutshell. In 2021, Corint Media – the collecting society working on behalf of the German publishers – had demanded 420 million euros from Google. Now, the collecting company has also submitted a licence agreement to Facebook. The licence covers the various uses of press content in Facebook services and Instagram.
How much? The remuneration asked for 2022 is 190 million euros. The calculation is based on an estimated turnover for Facebook in Germany of five billion euros in 2020.
Facebook says no. This week, the Facebook response: the Meta subsidiary does not want to pay the 190 million euros demanded by Corint Media.
There is a “fundamental misunderstanding” about how the service works, writes Jesper Doub, Director of News Partnerships at Meta. The company says that ancillary copyright does not apply when publishers upload articles to the platform or when private individuals share them.
Facebook “once again believes it can set the rules itself”, write the managing directors of the collecting society Markus Runde and Christoph Schwennicke.
The legal battle is just at the beginning.
FROM THE SOURCE.
- 3.12.2021 Corint Media submits licence agreement to Facebook (ENG)
BIG THEMES | GERMANY AGAINST BIG TECH, PART 3
German media regulators classify Google News Showcase as a media platform.
The ZAK, Commission for Licensing and Supervision of the State Media Authorities (Die ZAK, Kommission für Zulassung und Aufsicht der Landesmedienanstalten), has classified Google News Showcase as a media platform.
What will happen: Google’s service for curated news will be subject to German transparency regulations.
In concrete terms: Google must disclose the criteria it uses to select and present content from different publishers. Publishers must also get “non-discriminatory” access.
A bit of background. Google News Showcase has been on the market for just over a year. There have already been several reports about transparency deficits in the past years, especially when licensing agreements with publishers.
Google response. Google will work with regulators to “discuss the associated requirements”, a spokesperson told the Deutsche Presse Agentur.
NEWS MEDIA | DER SPIEGEL AT 75
Happy birthday, der Spiegel!
75: That’s how many years ago “Der Spiegel” was printed for the first time. The first issue of the paper appeared on 4 January 1947. Since then, much has changed in the leading medium. There have been affairs and scandals – and always the motto of “Der Spiegel” founder Rudolf Augstein, which is written in large letters on the wall in the foyer of the Hamburg publishing house: “Sagen, was ist.” (“Say what is”).
For the jubilee, the Spiegel newsroom has prepared a collection of articles, interviews, retrospectives that are a way to relive the history of the Country. Definitely worth reading:
Also, you fin a couple of posts on Media Republik about revenues and digital transformation:
- 15.12.21 Der Spiegel revenues on the rise in 2021, digital the growth engine.
- 15.12.21 Three years digital transformation at Der Spiegel.
NUMBERS OF THE WEEK
Television year 2021: ZDF is again the strongest German broadcaster.
For the tenth time in a row, ZDF has secured the annual victory in German television as the single broadcaster in terms of market share. By the numbers:
- 14,8% MARKET SHARE +1,2 VS 2020
- 5,91 Mio. DAILY VISITS ONLINE +28% VS 2020
- 66,61 Mio. PEOPLE REACHED MONTHLY BY THE ZDF OFFERINGS
Read the big TV review 2021 on Media Republik:
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