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Platform royalties: looking to a fair ecosystem?

For more than a decade, the digital world has been reshaping our relationship with entertainment and information. And the gap between traditional media and digital media continues to grow. Online media—Canadians’ preferred channel—accounts for an ever-growing portion of advertising investments.

Digital has more than its share of investments

*computer and mobile I Sources: Quebecor Insights (via Numeris, Comscore multi-platform, and Vividata) Merckle Canada, 2022

An unsustainable imbalance

The leading place held by digital media is not a problem in and of itself. Quite the contrary: many minority voices were heard thanks to the existence of online communities. The reason why the situation is ruffling some feathers is that, in terms of online compensation, two players are taking the lion’s share.

Two companies monopolize the vast majority of advertising revenues

Source: Le Devoir, Ottawa forcera le financement des médias par Facebook et Google, April 2022

Even more bothersome is the fact that a significant portion of the digital giants’ revenue comes from shared content produced by third-party editors. And their contribution often goes unnoticed. In short, royalties have yet to find their place in the digital world.

The giants claim to generate traffic to the content producers, but the numbers tell a different story

Source: SimilarWeb and SparkToro, world data, 2020

In this context, the drop in advertising revenue for traditional media groups is causing a growing number of businesses to struggle to stay alive.

The local press: the first collateral victim

Source: TVA Nouvelles, Ottawa forcera Facebook et Google à payer les médias canadiens, April 2022

Beyond the financial aspects, there are fundamental issues at play, particularly in terms of citizens’ access to information. In the US, 1 out of 5 people are living through a news drought, that is, with limited access to local news—a situation that is even more conducive to misinformation campaigns.

States are finally taking steps toward digital justice

If, up until now, the digital world could have been considered the 21st century version of the Far West, since 2021, things are starting to change.

Governments legislate to give content producers their fair value

Sources : / Chicago Tribune, août 2022 / Bloomberg (édition des États-Unis)

One after the other, governments have been speaking up (and creating laws) for a more balanced compensation model. And building a lasting media ecosystem ensuring the plurality of voices and independence of the press is a sizeable challenge.



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