The News Media Alliance (the Alliance) is seeking federal protection in order to avoid antitrust charges while the industry attempts to negotiate terms with big tech. Google and other big tech platforms made many billions of dollars, $4.7 billion in the case of Google alone, on the work of news publishers in 2018 according to the Alliance. Now those publishers want to work out a deal to deliver more of that money to their dying news rooms. Marc Tracy reports for The New York Times:
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, which represents more than 2,000 newspapers across the country, including The New York Times.
“They make money off this arrangement,” Mr. Chavern said, “and there needs to be a better outcome for news publishers.”
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 like this one.
“The study blatantly illustrates what we all know so clearly and so painfully,” said Terrance C.Z. Egger, the chief executive of Philadelphia Inquirer PBC, which publishes The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Philadelphia Daily News and philly.com. “The current dynamics in the relationships between the platforms and our industry are devastating.”
The News Media Alliance is making the study public in advance of a House subcommittee hearing on Tuesday on the interrelationship of big tech companies and the media.
Mr. Chavern said he hoped that an outcome of any conversation generated by the study would be the passage of the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act. The bill now before lawmakers would give news publishers 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.
“News is an important form of content that sustains civic society,” Mr. Chavern added. “I think everybody, from readers to writers to politicians, understands that if journalism goes away, that’s a horrible outcome for whether we’re able to sustain the republic.”
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Jeremy Jones, CFA
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