Google offers to let ad rivals place YouTube ads in EU antitrust probe

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A woman passes the logo of web search engine provider Google during the digital society festival ‘re:publica’, at Arena Berlin in Berlin, Germany on June 9, 2022.

Annegret Hilse | Reuters

Alphabet, Google’s parent company, has offered to let rival ad intermediaries place ads on YouTube to handle a crucial part of an EU antitrust probe that could pave the way for it to settle the case without fines, have said people familiar with the matter.

The European Commission opened an investigation last year into whether the world’s largest search and video provider was giving itself an unfair advantage in digital advertising by restricting competitors’ and advertisers’ access to user data.

The EU’s competition watchdog has highlighted Google’s requirement that advertisers must use its Ads Manager to display ads on YouTube and potential restrictions on how competitors serve ads on YouTube. Youtube.

It also examines Google’s requirement that advertisers use its Display & Video 360 and Google Ads services to buy YouTube ads. YouTube recorded $6.9 billion in sales in the first quarter of this year.

The commission and Google, which has previously said publishers and advertisers often use multiple technologies and platforms to sell ads, declined to comment.

Google has been discussing solutions with the commission since last year in a bid to avoid a fine that could reach 10% of its global revenue, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters last year.

The company will need to offer more than just the YouTube remedy to address other concerns in order to secure a deal, however, the people said, adding that talks appear to be on the right track.

The British competition agency CMA is also investigating Google’s advertising practices.

Google generated $147 billion in revenue from online ads last year, more than any other company in the world, with ads such as search, YouTube and Gmail accounting for the bulk of its overall sales and profits. .

The company’s display or network business, in which other media companies use Google technology to sell ads on their website and apps, accounted for about 16% of its revenue.

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