In its January 21, 2021 meeting, the Competition Board (“Board”) decided to launch a sector inquiry on the online advertising sector, according to the announcement published on the Turkish Competition Authority’s website on March 6, 2020. The sector inquiry aims to assess national and international developments on the sector while identify behavioral and/or structural competition problems and solutions.
The Board’s announcement states that the online advertising sector has a complex supply chain including many services and players; exhibits two-sided market characteristics; and consists of a wide variety of advertisement types and sub-markets. The announcement also indicates that this particular sector attracted competition authorities’ scrutiny and is the subject of sector inquiries around the world.
The announcement also refers to anti-competitive concerns stemming from a limited number of undertakings’ market power based on big data and product portfolio due to the shift from conventional to digital publication; increasing e-commerce penetration proliferating digital marketing; and increasing Internet and social media usage.
The sector inquiry aims to evaluate, within the framework mentioned above,
- The structure and functioning of the sector;
- The structural and/or behavioral competition concerns in the sector;
- The adequacy of the existing competition law tools in terms of establishing effective competition; and
- New tools to address these emerging areas.
Within this framework, the Board aims to carry out joint workshops with sector stakeholders to identify the potential issues and solutions. The Board also calls for stakeholders to submit their comments and recommendations to the Competition Authority until June 21, 2021.
The Turkish Competition Authority’s announcement is available here (in Turkish).
What Does the Development Mean?
The Competition Authority demonstrates a proactive approach to digital markets since its initial announcement on May 8, 2020 authorizing the Strategy Development Department to monitor and set competition policies for the digital economy with its decision no. 20-23/307 on May 7, 2020.
Together with the sector inquiry initiated on July 16, 2020 regarding e-marketplace platforms (you can access our Legal Alert on the E-Marketplace Platforms Sector Inquiry here), the sector inquiry provides insight on the Competition Authority’s approach and upcoming activities regarding online markets.
The Competition Authority aims to organize workshops to bring key players, undertakings, associations of undertakings and other sector players together, as provided in the announcement. Sector players are invited to submit their opinions and suggestions to the Competition Authority until June 21, 2021. The Competition Authority’s prolific recent activity in this area may indicate that the Competition Authority will maintain its proactive approach to this issue.