Brussels, Belgium, 1st June - IAB Europe, representing a diverse membership of thousands of digital marketing and advertising companies, media publishers, and independent third-party measurement firms, has released a policy paper outlining its position on the draft proposal for a European Media Freedom Act. The paper aims to provide valuable insights to Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and national officials working on their negotiating positions.
The proposed European Media Freedom Act seeks to establish a common framework for media services in the internal market, addressing various aspects of the digital media landscape. IAB Europe acknowledges the significance of audience measurement provisions, particularly Article 23, and emphasises its importance for independent and pluralistic media in European democracies. Digital advertising enables media publishers to monetise their content and maintain their independence while fostering a diverse media landscape. IAB Europe recognises the investments undertaken by publishers in audience measurement for transparent pricing of their advertising services. These systems are crucial to enhance their advertising strategies, serve new advertisers online, and evaluate advertising campaigns effectively.
In its policy paper, IAB Europe supports the principle-based approach to audience measurement outlined in Article 23(1) of the draft proposal. The implementation of these principles has the potential to enhance transparency in audience measurement systems, leading to a fairer allocation of advertising revenues across the media ecosystem. However, IAB Europe asks policymakers to consider three key aspects when regulating audience measurement.
Firstly, respecting the importance of existing self-regulatory initiatives, such as Joint Industry Committees (JICs), which are well-established in many member states. These frameworks, based on self-regulation among media publishers, advertising agencies, and independent audience measurement providers, have significantly contributed to improving audience measurement systems.
Secondly, IAB Europe emphasises the need for transparency in audience measurement methodologies (Article 23(2)) to ensure fair pricing of digital advertising, questioning the effectiveness of the current draft proposal in achieving this objective. The lack of a clear definition for "providers of proprietary audience measurement systems" creates ambiguity and may unintentionally impact third-party audience measurement providers, including traditional research companies and JICs.
Thirdly and finally, IAB Europe urges policymakers to strike a balance between transparency and innovation. While advocating for increased transparency in audience methodology, IAB Europe highlights the importance of protecting proprietary methods and technology that result from substantial investments in research and development. Transparency should not impede investments in research and innovation, which are essential for the evolution of audience measurement systems.
IAB Europe stands ready to engage in constructive dialogue with MEPs and national officials to ensure that the European Media Freedom Act upholds the principle of transparency. The full policy positioning paper can be accessed here.