Google may let rival ad platforms run commercials on YouTube

The move would be a concession to EU antitrust concerns, according to Reuters.

Arnd Wiegmann / reuters

Google will allow other advertising intermediaries to run ads on YouTube, according to Reuters. The company currently requires advertisers to use its Ad Manager to place ads on YouTube, which has caught the attention of European Union antitrust officials.

The European Commission opened a probe into Google's ad tech in 2021 after two years of informal consultations. Competition officials also cited concerns about potential restrictions on how rival ad platforms can run YouTube ads and the fact advertisers need to use the Display & Video 360 and Google Ads services. The investigation centers around whether Google, a division of Alphabet, gave itself an unfair advantage in the digital advertising space by limiting the user data that advertisers and rival ad platforms can access.

Reuters reports that Google's concession could help allow it to settle the case and avoid a fine of as much as 10 percent of its global turnover. Alphabet generated revenue of $257 billion in 2021. However, it's believed that Google will need to address other concerns to resolve the investigation.

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority is also looking into the company's ad tech practices. In the US, senators last month filed a bill with bipartisan support that would break up Google's ad business were it to become law.

"We have been engaging constructively with the European Commission. We don’t have anything further to share at this stage," a Google spokesperson told Engadget. "As with the Privacy Sandbox initiative, we are committed to working with regulators and the wider industry to achieve the best possible outcomes.”

Update 6/13 10:52PM ET: Added Google's statement.