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The Fast Growing Concentration Of The Connected TV OS Market: Getting Ahead Of Another Big Tech Duopoly, Before It’s Too Late

 |  April 6, 2022

By: Damien Geradin (The Platform Law Blog)

The European Commission recently published its final report into the Internet of Things, with Executive Vice-President Vestager stating: “The consumer Internet of Things sector is increasingly becoming part of our everyday life …  This is a market with high barriers to entry, few vertically integrated players and concerns about access to data, interoperability or exclusivity practices amongst others.

More specifically in the context of connected TVs, in a recent submission to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”), the BBC expressed concerns that “by 2023, as many as 60 to 80% of new TV sets sold may have an operating system owned by the tech giants (including Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon).” This could in turn lead these companies to engage in the type of conduct, such as self-preferencing, in which they have already engaged in other digital markets.

As has occurred in the case of mobile ecosystems, there is a significant risk that – absent regulatory intervention – the connected TV market could end up being more concentrated than predicted by the BBC, as this market would be  controlled by just two companies, i.e., Google and Amazon. Concentration in the connected TV market would in turn create significant risks for competition in a series of adjacent markets, such as content streaming and creation, online advertising, and hardware manufacturing since companies active in these markets would have no choice but to accept the terms and conditions imposed by Google and Amazon. Reduced competition in these markets could in turn affect consumers in terms of higher prices, reduced choice and innovation. By controlling the connected TV market Google and Amazon would further increase their data collection capabilities, enhancing their data advantage over other companies and raising privacy concerns…