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ACCC Digital Platforms update: report could drop this week; Quantium and Experian in the spotlight?

By Paul McIntyre - Executive Editor

15 July 2019 4min read

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By Paul McIntyre - Executive Editor

15 July 2019 4min read

Everyone's asking when the Federal government will release the ACCC's final findings from its Digital Platforms Inquiry.  Some insiders are betting on it landing this week along with some curveballs for data houses like Quantium and Experian getting unexpected attention.     

"The world is waiting. Everyone is on tenterhooks."

- Canberra insider

If the water cooler is still a thing, the Australian Competition and Consumer Competition (ACCC) is owning the conversation across key parts of industry.

As we speak, there's high expectation that the Federal government could release the Digital Platforms Inquiry report this week, without a formal government response. Depending on which Canberra insiders you talk to, next week and the following are sitting weeks in Canberra with some of the view it's unlikely to drop during that window. 

Others say there's a 28 day statutory requirement for the government to release the ACCC's final recommendations, which gets us to the end of next week. But there may be an overrider on this report which allows the government to release at its discretion. 

Whatever the timing, it's close. 

The rumblings are just that at this stage. But if grounded in any fact, there is some unexpected banter in government circles around data broking and the flow of an individual's information. Quantium and Experian are two which keep surfacing although privately, executives from one of these firms say there's been no signals from Canberra to them.

Some believe there seems to be an appetite to regulate businesses which aggregate data in a third party context - that is, data that is traded on from its original source or collection point.

If true, third party data is certainly at higher risk across industry. That will only fast track  efforts already underway by brands to build out their first party data collection. Some think it might even trigger renewed investment in media and content from disparate industry operators.

"The world is waiting. Everyone is on tenterhooks," says one observer. "Industry speculation is swirling around what it might be."

Federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg gave some hints to The Sydney Morning Herald  last week in his first public comments since the ACCC's report landed on his desk: 

"There are genuine competition issues to look at," he said. "There are also issues around privacy, about the collection of data and how it's used. And it's clear that the social media companies and online search engines are only going to grow over time as the economy becomes more digitalised and the internet even more dominant in commerce. There are genuine competition issues to look at."


You can read Mi3's debate here between Nine and News Corp's heads of regulatory and government affairs, Clare Gill and GK Schubert and Omnicom Media Group's chief investment officer Kristiaan Kroon. Or listen to the Audio Edition here.

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