Opinion Regarding Data usage in the Online Advertising Sector

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"The French Competition Authority (“FCA”) has undertaken at its own initiative a very wide and thorough sector investigation of the market of online advertising. In this opinion, the FCA analyses a very complex market characterized by a fragile competitive equilibrium. This vast sector-specific investigation into online advertising is based upon a broad consultation of all market stakeholders. Targeted questionnaires, online consultation, and hearings have taken place to gain the most precise understanding possible of the sector’s function. In its opinion of nearly one hundred pages, the FCA describes the dynamics and mechanisms of this sector. This opinion will provide a very accurate analytical framework that will allow for more effective investigation of cases in this area.

The opinion examines so-called “display” advertising - tiles, banners, and skins that are integrated in site contents for viewing by internet users – to illustrate how this new form of advertising works, from the point of view of technology and market dynamics. The study describes for the first time in a detailed manner the ecosystem of programmatic advertising and the diverse new technologies that are being used (ad servers, supply side platforms, demand side platforms, etc.). The study draws an analysis on the specific advantages that explain the favorable positions held by Google and Facebook. The study also gives meaningful insights on the impact of changes in privacy law (GDPR, eprivacy) and market dynamics, highlighting the way it affects differently companies depending on their technological and business model. The study also illustrates the importance of data and access to specific inventions to determine success on their particular market.

The study is based on the previous study of “search” advertising (which the FCA examined in 2010), on the joint study of the Autorité de la concurrence and its German counterpart, the Bundeskartellamt, on data and related issues for implementation of competition law."