Who: UK Government
Where: United Kingdom
When: 12 February 2019
Law stated as at: 17 March 2019
The Cairncross Review was undertaken by former journalist Dame Frances Cairncross and published on 12 February 2019.
The Review looks into the future sustainability of the UK news and journalism industry and how to safeguard the press. As part of this, the Review considers the impact that online advertising has had on the revenues of traditional news outlets.
The Review includes a recommendation that the Competition and Markets Authority (the CMA) “should use its information-gathering powers to conduct a market study of the online advertising industry“. The Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee’s report on “Disinformation and ‘fake news‘” dated 14 February 2019 also contains a similar recommendation. In addition, the Review recommends that online platforms should be regulated to improve the experience that users receive in relation to news.
Why this matters:
A full response to the Review from the government is expected later this year. In the meantime, the Culture Secretary has written to the CMA (and other bodies) to take forward the recommendations in the Review. Therefore, we should expect the CMA to conduct an investigation into the online advertising industry in the near future.
The recommendation is hardly surprising in light of the current political climate and attitudes towards news consumed online. Nonetheless, the potential outcome of any investigation is likely to cause significant change in the online advertising industry, which follows on from changes due to the General Data Protection Regulation, and may coincide with or precede other changes from the long-awaited e-Privacy Regulation.