News Publishers Team Up to Take On Facebook, Google

Newspapers Seek Congress' Help In Dealing With Facebook, Google

Newspapers push wrong solution to online duopoly

The News Media Alliance - a trade organization representing some 2,000 organizations across the USA and Canada, including The Wall Street Journal's publisher Dow Jones - says antiquated antitrust laws have had "the unintended effect of preserving and protecting Google and Facebook's dominant position", by limiting publishers' ability to push for changes together.

"Legislation that enables news organizations to negotiate collectively will address pervasive problems that today are diminishing the overall health and quality of the news media industry", David Chavern, the group's president and CEO, said in a statement".

"To ensure that journalism has a future", he adds, "the organizations that fund them should be able to bargain collectively with the digital platforms that control the distribution and access to the hearing in the digital age". He also cited numbers that support what many of us know: Most people get to their news by clicking on links in their Facebook news feeds, or from Google Search.

Such a waiver is uncommon, however, and the prospects for the alliance's push are unclear.

The fine was a huge win for some US organizations that have accused Google of using its dominance in the internet search market to hinder competitors by skewing search results. And their combined market share is growing. Together, they account for more than 70% of the $73 billion spent each year on digital advertising, and they eat up most of the growth.

Google said in a statement: "We want to help news publishers succeed as they transition to digital".

Newspapers Seek Congress' Help In Dealing With Facebook, Google
Publishers Seek Hill Help Against Digital Duopoly: Facebook, Google

The News Media Alliance, which represents leading newspaper publishers, is seeking an anti-trust exemption from Congress that will allow publishers to negotiate jointly with the digital giants on terms under which they can carry the publishers' content.

Facebook's head of news partnerships, Campbell Brown, said in a statement to AFP: "We're committed to helping quality journalism thrive on Facebook".

"Because of this "duopoly " digital", regrets the professional organization, "editors are forced to deliver their content and adhere to the rules (set by the +duopoly+, editor's NOTE) relating to the manner in which the information is published, prioritized and monetized".

"But the two digital giants don't employ reporters".

"In recent years we've built numerous specialized products and technologies, developed specifically to help distribute, fund, and support newspapers", a Google spokesperson told CNBC. This isn't exactly a secret - almost half of all American adults rely on Facebook as a primary news delivery mechanism, and both the social network and Google collectively control more than two-thirds of the entire online advertising market.

-Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg contributed to this article.

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