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CEO DATELINE – Association: Google generates billions from news content at expense of publishers

June 10, 2019
By Walt Williams

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Google reaped $4.7 billion in revenue last year from news content without paying news publishers for that use, according to a study commissioned by the News Media Alliance.

The News Media Alliance represents newspapers and online news content publishers. The study by the economics consulting firm Keystone Strategy analyzed the amount of news content on Google Search and Google News and estimated the amount of ad revenue the company derived from that content. The research is the latest salvo in an effort by news publishers to get online platforms to pay for the news content they share.

“News publishers need to continue to invest in quality journalism, and they can’t do that if the platforms take what they want without paying for it. Information wants to be free, but reporters need to get paid,” News Media Alliance CEO David Chavern said in a statement.

The group said the figures in the study are conservative estimates because the actual value of news content to Google is difficult to quantify given the various ways the company uses content to drive traffic and develop products. The group currently is backing bills before Congress that would temporarily exempt publishers from antitrust laws so they could collectively bargain with online platforms for better rates for the use of news content.