The News Media Alliance, which represents leading newspaper publishers, is seeking an anti-trust exemption from Congress that will allow publishers to negotiate jointly with the digital giants on terms under which they can carry the publishers’ content. Today, the NMA said, “news organizations are limited with disaggregated negotiating power against a de facto duopoly that is vacuuming up all but an ever-decreasing segment of advertising revenue.”
The News Media Alliance, which represents leading newspaper publishers, called on Congress for an anti-trust exemption that would allow publishers to negotiate jointly with Facebook and Google, a “duopoly” that controls distribution of much the publishers’ content and dominants the digital ad market.
The exemption would correct “pervasive problems that today are diminishing the overall health and quality of the news media industry,” said NMA CEO David Chavern in a statement.
“Quality journalism is critical to sustaining democracy and is central to civic society. To ensure that such journalism has a future, the news organizations that fund it must be able to collectively negotiate with the digital platforms that effectively control distribution and audience access in the digital age.”
According to the NMA, “News organizations are limited with disaggregated negotiating power against a de facto duopoly that is vacuuming up all but an ever-decreasing segment of advertising revenue.
“Because of this digital duopoly, publishers are forced to surrender their content and play by their rules on how news and information is displayed, prioritized and monetized.
“These rules have commoditized the news and given rise to fake news, which often cannot be differentiated from real news.
“Antitrust laws are intended to address the injury inflicted by dominant monopolistic companies.
“Yet when it comes to the media, existing laws are having the unintended consequence of preventing news organizations from working together to negotiate better deals that will sustain local, enterprise journalism that is critical to a vibrant democracy.”
Campbell Brown, head of news partnerships at Facebook, said in a statement to the Associated Press that the company is “committed to helping quality journalism thrive on Facebook. We’re making progress through our work with news publishers and have more work to do.”