32 media companies sue google over digital ad losses

By Oluwaseyi Lawal
Google has been slammed with a €2.1bn ($2.3bn) lawsuit filed by 32 media organizations, including Axel Springer and Schibsted. The lawsuit accuses Google of causing financial losses to these groups through its practices in digital advertising.
The action taken by the organizations, comprising publishers from several European countries such as Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain and Sweden, coincides with increased scrutiny from antitrust regulators targeting Google’s advertising technology sector.
“The media companies involved have incurred losses due to a less competitive market, which is a direct result of Google’s misconduct,” a statement issued by their lawyers, Geradin Partners and Stek, said.
“Without Google’s abuse of its dominant position, the media companies would have received significantly higher revenues from advertising and paid lower fees for ad tech services. Crucially, these funds could have been reinvested into strengthening the European media landscape,” the lawyers said.
They mentioned the €220 million fine levied by the French competition authority against Google’s ad-tech business in 2021, along with the European Commission’s charges from the preceding year, to strengthen their collective argument.
“If there is follow through to the regulatory scrutiny, Google may need to curtail its practices and provide more consistent, predicable pricing to its advertising customers,” DA Davidson & Co analyst Gil Luria said.
The legal action arises as Google’s primary advertising sector confronts a significant challenge from the transition to generative AI chat, Luria noted. A Google spokesperson countered the lawsuit in a statement, stating that the company disapproves of it, deeming it “speculative and opportunistic.”
“Google works constructively with publishers across Europe. [Our advertising tools] adapt and evolve in partnership with those same publishers.“
Last year, Google expressed disagreement with EU antitrust accusations regarding its involvement in both the buying and selling aspects of the ad tech supply chain. In recent years, publishers worldwide have expressed concerns about the increasing dominance of Big Tech in advertising, as their revenue shares decline. Analysts consider Google the most dominant digital advertising platform globally.
The consortium chose to file the lawsuit in a Dutch court due to the country’s reputation as a significant jurisdiction for antitrust damages claims in Europe, aiming to avoid multiple claims across various European countries.
Other members of the consortium include Krone from Austria, DPG Media and Mediahuis from Belgium, TV2 Danmark A/S from Denmark, Sanoma from Finland, Agora from Poland, Prensa Iberica from Spain, and Ringier from Switzerland.


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