Media groups call for laws to ensure that big Internet firms spread wealth | #socialmedia


  • By Shelley Shan / Staff reporter

Four large media associations in Taiwan yesterday urged the government to create laws that would require Google and other large international platform operators to negotiate a reasonable split of their advertising revenue with local content providers.

Speaking at a news conference in Taipei, representatives from the Taiwan Digital and Marketing Association (DMA), Media Agency Association, Taipei Newspapers Association and Satellite Television Broadcasting Association said they also opposed a proposal requiring Internet platform operators to devote a percentage of their advertising revenue to the creation of a public fund, which would be used to support the production of quality news content.

“The government should stipulate laws to ensure that [media providers] secure their share of advertising revenue, rather than setting up a fund to address the issue. We hope that the government will listen to industry representatives,” DMA chairman Nathan Chiu (邱繼弘) said.

Photo: Yang Mien-chieh, Taipei Times

Taipei Newspaper Association secretary-general Aaker Chen (陳志光) said that his association’s position has always been that users should pay for media content.

There should be a reasonable mechanism governing the division of advertising revenue between media and platform operators, he added.

Local media providers can only secure a very small percentage of advertising revenue based on the advertising traffic their content brings in, and that business model should be changed, he said.

“We have seen in Australia that even media tycoons like Rupert Murdoch had trouble negotiating with Google or Facebook. It would be almost impossible for Taiwanese media to reach agreements with large platform operators,” he said.

His association has on multiple occasions urged the government to create laws to ensure that local content providers receive their fair share of advertising revenue, he added.

Chen said that his association was also against the proposal to establish a public fund made up of revenue collected from platform operators.

Several media experts have suggested that the fund be managed by a foundation, which would be in charge of distributing revenue to the providers of quality news content, he said.

“We believe that setting up such a fund is a really bad idea and goes against our ‘users pay’ principle,” Chen said.

“Using a government fund to support the production of high-quality content and giving content providers their fair share of advertising revenue should be treated as separate matters,” he added.

Satellite Television Broadcasting Association secretary-general May Chen (陳依玫) said that Google, Facebook and other digital platform operators have a social responsibility, given their strong global market power.

“In Taiwan, the least they can do is to sit down and negotiate with local media representatives. So far, we have not made much progress in this regard,” she said, adding that the government could facilitate such conversations.

Large platform operators not only have a responsibility to tackle issues caused by misinformation, but must also address the problem of content piracy.

DMA’s data showed that digital advertising revenue generated in Taiwan last year through access to content on general media and social media platforms topped NT$48.25 billion (US$1.73 billion), up 5.3 percent from 2019.

While 40.3 percent of the revenue came from access to general media content via mobile phones or tablets, 33.74 percent was gained through access to content on social media platforms via mobile devices, the data showed.

National Communications Commission Vice Chairman and spokesman Wong Po-tsung (翁柏宗) said that the commission would investigate how large platforms have affected broadcast media, adding that it would work with the Ministry of Culture and the Fair Trade Commission to address the issue.

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