E.W. Scripps' Contreras to FTC: Help Newspapers Protect Online Content

By: E&P Staff Newspapers will have to figure out how to protect and license their content from online poachers -- but the government should support whatever solution is found, Mark Contreras, E.W. Scripps' senior vice president told a workshop sponsored by the Federal Trade
Commission (FTC) Tuesday.

In his remarks during the FTC workshop titled, "From Town Crier to Bloggers: How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age?," Contreras also said the federal government should support the evolution of behaviorally targeted advertising.

"Many newspapers offer services which sell a specific audience to advertisers," Contreras said in prepared testimony distributed by the Newspaper Association of America (NAA). "This is especially true in the online space as targeted advertising has become an essential part of the future. Because of longstanding relationships with local communities -- which are based on trust -- newspaper publishers are highly sensitive to consumer concerns about online privacy."

Contreras, vice chairman of the NAA, said the newspaper industry supports the FTC's call for industry self-regulation that increases transparency and consumer choice around online data collection.

On the subject of third-party re-publication of newspaper content, Contreras said said newspapers are working on a "marketplace solution that will make it convenient for unauthorized users of newspaper content to license such use and pay reasonable fees." The FTC, he suggested, should support that solution.

The federal government should also redefine how it looks at the media marketplace, Contreras said. When evaluating competition in local markets, the government should look beyond simply the newspaper presence to include broadcast, the Internet, direct mail and other media players.

To that end, Contreras added, the government could assist in creating uniform online audience defintion standards.

"More than 15 years after the wide-spread adoption of the Internet, there is no single, universally accepted definition of online audience on which both publishers and advertisers agree," he said. "Creating one, gold-standard definition would assist all publishers to derive fair value for the sale of online advertising inventory."


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