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Taking a closer look at online video platforms

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has launched a market study into online platforms that offer videos and movies. Think of YouTube and Facebook, but also Dutch platforms such as NL-ziet and Dumpert.

We will be taking a closer look at the business models of the companies that are active on this market. We wish to find out in detail how they earn their money.

ACM can use the results of this study to take action sooner and more effectively when consumers are threatened to be harmed. The first results are expected to be released by the end of 2016.

What will the market study look into?

The main subject of ACM’s market study is online platforms that stream videos. ACM will not just look at the platforms themselves, but also at the businesses that are somehow connected to them such as media agencies, digital marketplaces where advertisement space is sold and bought, and producers of content for these platforms. This is a fast growing market, and also a market on which major national and international businesses are active. 

In the market study, ACM will be looking at:

  • The various terms and conditions, and businesses models of these platforms;
  • The advertisement options, and revenues from advertisements;  
  • The collection and use of personal data for personalized advertisements, for example;
  • The distribution of online videos.

What other activities does ACM do with regard to online platforms?

The topic of ‘online consumers’ is high on ACM’s agenda. Consumers are spending more and more time online, looking for information, making purchases, watching movies, or playing games. Together with the launch of the market study, ACM publishes an article, titled ‘Big platforms, big problems?,’ about the benefits and drawbacks of platforms for consumers and competition.

Platforms offer consumers plenty of benefits: they make it easy to compare products, to review products, and to purchase products from a vast selection. And they also make it easy for consumers themselves to offer products and services over those platforms, or to share information with each other. Platforms are very attractive to providers, because so many consumers visit a single website.

However, online platforms can become very big very fast. Gaining a strong position in the market also carries risks. Smaller initiatives are unable to get their foot in the door or the bigger ones are able to couple ‘services’ that can only be used in combination with the platform, for example. Market power could thus lead to idleness and a lack of innovation, which will eventually hurt consumers.

More information?

Watch this video in which Michiel Denkers, Director of ACM’s Competition Department, talks about the role of online platforms, and about the market study into video-streaming platforms.

Watch the video 

Read ACM’s article (in Dutch) in which it looks at online platforms from a competition-law perspective. 

Read the article