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Targeted Ads: How can the DSA/DMA boost media pluralism and growth in the EU?

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Targeted Ads: How can the DSA/DMA boost media pluralism and growth in the EU?

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04 November 2021 – Policy Dialogue held in cooperation with Google

Speakers: Daniel Knapp, Chief Economist, IAB Europe; Ilias Konteas, Executive Director, European Newspaper Publisher’s Association; Iverna McGowan, Secretary-General, Centre for Democracy & Technology; Paul Tang, MEP, Socialists and Democrats, European Parliament; Ruth Smeeth, Chief Executive Officer, Index on Censorship

Moderator: Andreas Aktoudianakis, Policy Analyst, European Policy Centre

The Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act aim to foster media pluralism and growth in the EU media landscape, but it is possible that banning targeted ads could spell out important challenges for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), citizens, and consumers. On the one hand, limiting the scope of targeted ads could help address policymakers’ concerns about the concentration of data by Big Tech and long-term dependencies on big tech in the EU’s Single Market. On the other hand, a ban could harm small businesses by reducing the effectiveness and raising the costs of advertising. Moreover, small and medium media publishers in so-called illiberal democracies will not be able to compete with state-run media in reaching audiences, leading to concerns that a ban on targeted ads could undermine media pluralism and democratic deliberation.

This Policy Dialogue discussed how the DSΑ and DMA can empower the EU’s digital ecosystem against the backdrop of the need for strong EU recovery in the aftermath of Covid-19. Questions included: What are the advantages and disadvantages that targeted ads pose for citizens, consumers, businesses and the media? What are the different regulatory approaches to targeted ads and what is their scope? What are the potential benefits and risks of these approaches for consumers and businesses, as well as for European democracy?

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