Sunday, June 09, 2019

Daily papers, seeking anti-trust break to deal with Google and Facebook, say Google makes billions from their work

Google made $4.7 billion "from the work of news publishers in 2018 via search and Google News, according to a study by the News Media Alliance, the main lobbying group for daily newspapers. "The journalists who create that content deserve a cut of that $4.7 billion, said David Chavern, the president and chief executive of the alliance," Marc Tracy reports for The New York Times.

"That $4.7 billion is nearly as much as the $5.1 billion brought in by the United States news industry as a whole from digital advertising last year — and the News Media Alliance cautioned that its estimate for Google’s income was conservative. For one thing, it does not count the value of the personal data the company collects on consumers every time they click on an article," Tracy writes. Google didn't respond to the Times' request for comment.

The study's release is tied to a House subcommittee hearing Tuesday "on the interrelationship of big tech companies and the media," Tracy reports. The newspaper industry wants "a four-year antitrust exemption, allowing them to collectively bargain with the owners of online platforms over revenue splitting. The bill has bipartisan support in the Senate and the House, including the chairman and ranking member of the House Judiciary’s antitrust subcommittee."

Google's parent, Alphabet, and Facebook "are major distributors for news publishers," Tracy notes. "The two of them ferry more than 80 percent of external traffic to various sites. That is a far cry from the analog days, when media barons controlled how their publications reached the public and collected all the ad income they generated." By playing middleman, they "take a huge proportion of online ad revenue," the advent of which has reduced newspaper advertising. The companies “like this business,” Chavern told Tracy. “It’s a good business, where you write for them.”

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