NIXSOLUTIONS: European Media Groups Sue Google for €2.1B

In a significant legal move, 32 European media groups, including major players like Axel Springer and Schibsted, have collectively filed a lawsuit against Google, seeking €2.1 billion in damages. The allegations revolve around the tech giant’s purported illegal actions within the digital advertising market.

International Legal Action:

The plaintiffs hail from diverse European countries, including Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Hungary, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, and Sweden. Simultaneously, European antitrust authorities have initiated inquiries into Google’s advertising practices.

NIX Solutions

Impact on Media Companies:

According to the legal representatives of the media groups involved, losses incurred stem from the insufficiently competitive market resulting from Google’s alleged misconduct. They contend that in the absence of Google’s abuse of its dominant position, media companies could have garnered significantly higher advertising revenues while paying lower fees for advertising services. This, they argue, would have allowed for potential reinvestment in fortifying the European media landscape. Notably, the lawyers pointed to a €220 million fine imposed on Google by the French Competition Authority in 2021 related to its advertising business.

Google’s Response:

Google rebuffed the allegations, dismissing them as “speculative and opportunistic.” The company maintained that it collaborates constructively with publishers across Europe and asserted that its advertising tools evolve in partnership with publishers. This response echoes Google’s stance from the previous year when faced with accusations of abusing its dominant position in the advertising market, where it operates as both a buyer and a seller.

Industry-Wide Concerns:

The lawsuit adds to a growing global chorus of publishers expressing concerns about the dominance of major tech players in the advertising sector, leading to a decline in platforms’ share of revenue. Google, as the world’s largest player in this arena, finds itself at the center of these discussions.

Jurisdiction and Legal Strategy:

Filed in the Netherlands, the lawsuit strategically leverages the country’s status as the primary jurisdiction for damages claims under European antitrust law. This approach streamlines the legal process by avoiding the need for separate claims in various EU countries, notes NIXSOLUTIONS.

In summary, the legal battle between European media groups and Google underscores the complex dynamics of the digital advertising market, with broader implications for media companies and the evolving landscape in Europe.