Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Graeme Samuel now argues that content is the determining factor in whether a media company is being anti-competitive. (“Consumers the key to media revolution”, AFR, November 18).
Samuel says that the bar for monopoly has been substantially lowered. Now all it takes is an assessment that a company is acquiring too much premium content – sporting content, obviously, but movies as well. This judgement will continue to change as tastes do. He mentions tennis, AFL, rugby and cricket, but not soccer, which is now about as premium as you can get.
But it is the capacity for companies to make exclusive content deals that encourages entry into new, developing markets. If the ACCC punishes companies that it deems too enthusiastic in offering value to consumers, it will only make these consumers think twice about adopting the new technologies at all.
Why would the ACCC warn companies off experimenting with new products and services? Samuel may think that he is protecting competition, but by arbitrarily punishing companies he is punishing consumers and stifling innovation.
Such arguments as this betray the fact that the ACCC is merely paying lip-service to the possibilities of new media, rather than understanding its revolutionary consequences.