The Study Of The Advertising Market Will Be Published At The End Of The Year

Gayane Asryan


The State Commission for the Protection of Economic Competition (SCPEC) has been studying the advertising market since the beginning of the year.

There have been studies and proceedings in the past, but they were of a piecemeal nature; there was no complete and concise analysis of the situation of advertising in the media.

Now there will be a comprehensive study to understand the media advertising market, the mechanisms of distribution of advertisements and the interconnectedness between TV companies.

Prior to the current investigation, in 2019, Digital Caramel filed a complaint alleging that Media System had violated competition law by offering its customers obvious anti-competitive terms.

Media System presented the contracts signed in 2019, tax bills and the cost of services. The study of the contracts revealed that these contracts do not contain provisions on the free use of additional services, their gratuitous provision, application of discounts. The administrative proceedings were terminated.

For an ongoing study of the advertising market, the Commission sent inquiries for additional information to TV, radio, www.similarweb.com and www.alexa.com, the highest-rated websites, and advertising agents, most of whom provided the required information. The TV and radio companies provided the required information within the mentioned period.

Some websites found it difficult to agree to the required information. In order to allay the concerns, the SCPEC met with the representatives of the websites to discuss the issues and their main goal.

SCPEC member Hayk Karapetyan said in his speech during the meeting that the study was aimed not at revealing complaints, but at revealing the general competitive situation.

“The purpose of studying the advertising market is to find out the structure of the advertising market, the number of operating businesses, barriers to entry, the absence or presence of those in a dominant position,” he said.

The representative of the commission does not rule out that as a result of the investigation they may find out possible cases of violations, which will be studied separately and will be presented to the public.

The meeting was attended by 168 Zham Editor, President of the Union of Journalists of Armenia Satik Seyranyan, who demanded maximum transparency from the commission: “You are not transparent to the press, you do not ensure the commercial secrecy of contracts, you do not publish the list of media, you do not say that the organization has filed a complaint.”

Editor-in-Chief of the Blognews.am website, Konstantin Ter-Nakalyann, sees more technical problems and said that no website on the Internet has a document claiming that it is a media outlet, and brought YouTube as an example, which the SCPEC cannot have a tool to study.

“The complaint of the business is ridiculous, because if everything is as clear as possible in the TV market, then there is no clear standard in electronic advertising,” he said.

During the discussion, the concerned websites wanted to work with the commission in an environment of mutual trust, providing only contracts, as finding and submitting the remaining required information is time-consuming, requires additional resources from them.

Ensuring confidentiality throughout the investigation process, according to the SCPEC representative, is a possible precondition. And without secrecy, it would be difficult to work with businesses in gasoline, eggs, and other larger markets.

SCPEC informed Aravot.am that at the end of the discussion the commission and the editors came to a common denominator that they would submit the required documents.

Samvel Sahakyan, head of the Prime Commercial online advertising agency, said the SCPEC should cooperate with experts in this study.

“In fact, there are two players on the field, one of whom is dominant. There is a problem to understand why it turns out that way. While healthy competition suggests that there should be many players on the field with almost equal opportunities,” he said.

According to him, there is a problem of transparency in this process, which causes political speculations.

Economist Hrant Mikaelyan says that the commission is free to study and demand the necessary documents, especially if there is a complaint-based proceeding. Organizations are required to provide research materials, including financial contracts.

“As I understand it, there has been no large-scale research in the field of advertising before, which means that we need to have a clear methodology. If they see a problem with publicity, it is necessary to give all the guarantees that the results will be anonymous,” he said.

According to him, the clarifications and justifications related to the sample are also important, for example, how comparable Alexa’s data are from recent months.

The studies will be completed by the end of 2020, the results will be published on the website of the commission, which will be followed by a press conference on this topic.

Gayane Asryan

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