The Department of Justice announced today that it will not challenge a proposal by the Association of Independent Commercial Producers (AICP) to operate an online platform for advertisers to solicit bids from companies that provide production services for commercial advertisements. The department’s position was stated in a business review letter from Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Antitrust Division to counsel for the AICP.
According to representations made by the AICP, the AICP platform would allow an advertiser to upload details about its need for a commercial advertising production, including bid specifications and, at the advertiser’s option, budget parameters. The advertiser independently would identify the production company bidders to be invited to participate in the bidding process. Any submitted bids would remain private to both the bidder and the advertiser. After the advertiser has awarded the bids, no bidding data would be retained or collected.
Although exchanging price and other competitive information can facilitate anticompetitive coordination among competitors, the AICP has designed the proposed platform to prevent such information sharing. To this end, the proposed platform will contain numerous safeguards to ensure that neither the nonpublic information an advertiser provides to the platform nor the nonpublic information that bidders submit in response to an advertiser’s job specifications will be shared with other advertisers, bidders, or with third parties. Additionally, the AICP platform will include firewalls to ensure that neither the AICP nor its members can access that third-party information.
Based on the information submitted and representations made by the AICP, the department has no present intention to challenge the operation of the AICP’s proposed online bidding platform.
This statement is made in accordance with the department’s business review procedure, 28 C.F.R. § 50.6, and subject to the limitations and reservations of rights therein. Under the department’s business review procedure, an organization may submit a proposed action to the Antitrust Division and receive a statement as to whether the division currently intends to challenge the action under the antitrust laws based on the information provided.
Copies of the business review request and the department’s response are available on the Antitrust Division’s website at https://www.justice.gov/atr/business-review-letters-and-request-letters, as well as in a file maintained by the Antitrust Documents Group of the Antitrust Division, U.S. Department of Justice, 450 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 1010, Washington, D.C. 20530.
After a 30-day waiting period, any documents supporting the business review will be added to the file, unless a basis for their exclusion for reasons of confidentiality has been established under the business review procedure. Supporting documents in the file will be maintained for a period of one year, and copies will be available upon request to the FOIA/Privacy Act Unit, Antitrust Documents Group at firstname.lastname@example.org.