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No dominant market power among online video streaming platforms

22-08-2017

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has conducted a market study into online video platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Netflix, and Dumpert. ACM did not find any indications for anticompetitive risks on the online advertising market and the online video market. However, ACM did discover unfair general terms and conditions. ACM will expand the current international approach to this topic. ACM has conducted this study to gain more insight into the functioning of, the competitors in, and the dynamics of this segment of the online economy.

Dynamics of and competition in the online advertising market

Most platforms for videos generate their revenues from online advertisements. A large part of this market study also deals with the capital flows surrounding video platforms:

  • Online video platforms compete heavily for consumer attention. This battle primarily takes place by focusing on the content of the videos, and good and new services.
  • None of the online video platforms currently have a dominant position. The large, international platforms such as YouTube and Facebook face competition on these markets from each other and from smaller competitors.
  • Online advertisements can be placed in a number of ways. In addition, there are many different companies that sell advertising space and place advertisements. Advertisers are able to choose the type of advertisement, and whom they wish to do business with, and they also take advantage of these opportunities.
  • There is also sufficient competition between the companies that facilitate the trade of advertising space.
  • Personal data become more and more important in online advertising. However, large quantities of data are not an insurmountable barrier for being able to enter the market.

Further investigation into unfair general terms and conditions

ACM has conducted a preliminary study into the general terms and conditions that online video platforms use vis-à-vis consumers. This study has confirmed that some conditions are unfair, for example, certain conditions deny consumers certain rights. These types of conditions are not unique to video platforms. They can be found in many online services. ACM will expand the investigation into such conditions, together with its European counterparts.

The market for online video streaming evolving at breathtaking speed

The market for online video services is evolving at breathtaking speed. The new ways in which consumers use online media have turned the media landscape upside down. As a result,  the revenues of traditional media companies have come under pressure, for example, because they are selling fewer advertisements and subscriptions.

There are large and small companies on the market for online video streaming services. In addition, there is a constant stream of new initiatives or new market participants such as Telegraaf VNDG or Appie Today. The market is growing fast, and is very dynamic. ACM has conducted this market study in order to fully understand the market, and to identify any potential risks.

Because of the diversity of platforms, the different options to advertise and the rapid developments in the market, ACM currently does not see any anticompetitive problems with online video platforms. However, in such a turbulent market, there is always the chance that anticompetitive problems will emerge. Therefore, ACM will continue to keep a critical eye on the market for online video streaming over the next couple of years.