German Media Tag-Teaming Against Google ‘Monopoly’

Four of Germany’s largest media groups are set to form a shared web advertising network, after winning clearance from the European Commission’s competition department.

The commision said there was no anticompetitive effect from a “proposed joint venture would develop and sell a new product to allow advertisers to reach better defined target groups of Internet users whose profiles would be created based on anonymous data collected throughout a large network of participating websites”.

The proposal came from…

— Broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1‘s SevenOne Media marketing wing (Germany’s third-placed ad net with 17.9 million uniques)

— Mag publisher Gruner + Jaher‘s Electronic Media Sales wing, selling across mag sites like and

— Mag/web publisher Hubert Burda Media‘s Tomorrow Focus, which controls sales for 36 Burda magazines and operates its sites including Focus magazine.

IP Deutschland, an ad house that already sells TV slots for broadcasters RTL, VOX, Super RTL and n-tv.

Details on the JV are scant, but the EC said: “The activity of the joint venture would be limited to the area of standard online display advertising.”

The JV looks like a remarkably powerful tag-team. But the EC said: “The proposed concentration was unlikely to raise competition concerns given the parties’ low market shares in online advertising and the presence of strong competitors like Google.

Indeed, this could very well be a move to masculate Germany’s indigenous media against Google’s growing ad sales might. Last week, the company’s justice minister warned Google (NSDQ: GOOG) is becoming “a giant monopoly, similar to Microsoft”, while newspaper and magazine groups filed in Germany’s Federal Cartel Office against Google’s use of their news snippets.