Comcast goes after Google over unfair video ad practices – report

Comcast Center headquarters in Philadelphia. Image: Comcast
Google last year cut off FreeWheel in Europe due to the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation that placed restrictions on sharing consumer data. (Comcast)

FreeWheel, Comcast’s video advertising business, reportedly has accused Google of using unfair practices to control video ad sales on YouTube.

According to Reuters, FreeWheel leveled those accusations earlier this year in a private meeting with a congressional task force. The company said that Google used privacy concerns as a means to unfairly limit FreeWheel from selling and placing ads on YouTube on behalf of its clients.

“FreeWheel would embrace a solution that allowed it to continue to meaningfully serve its clients when they publish their content on YouTube, as it had for over a decade on that platform,” Comcast said in a statement obtained by Reuters. “Unfortunately, the actions to remove or degrade FreeWheel’s capabilities on YouTube fall well short of that.”

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In 2009, Google reached a deal with Comcast that allowed publishers including major programmers like NBCUniversal, Turner and Viacom to sell ads on YouTube using FreeWheel instead of Google’s similar product.

As the report points out, though, Google last year cut off FreeWheel in Europe due to the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation that placed restrictions on sharing consumer data.

In the U.S., FreeWheel can still sell ads on YouTube but publishers who use Comcast’s video ad server won’t get access to as much consumer data as they would if they used Google’s ad server.