Report: Google earns nearly as much money from news as entire news industry
- Google News and Google Search allegedly earned the company $4.7 billion in 2018.
- A news media group thinks this is too much money compared to the entire news industry earning $5.1 billion during the same period.
- A new bill going through Congress would allow publishers to collectively bargain with aggregators like Google to earn a cut of news-related revenue.
According to a new report from the News Media Alliance (via The New York Times), Google is making an incredible amount of money from its news links. According to the NMA’s research, Google News and Google Search earned approximately $4.7 billion in 2018 by linking to news media.
That number stands in stark contrast to what the entire news industry earned from digital advertising last year: $5.1 billion. In other words, Google is making almost as much money off the news as the entire industry which creates that news.
Google, for its part, contests the NMA’s findings. In a statement to The New York Times, the company said:
These back-of-the-envelope calculations are inaccurate. The overwhelming number of news queries do not show ads. We’ve worked very hard to be a collaborative and supportive technology and advertising partner to news publishers worldwide.
We reached out to Google directly to get more information about this statement but the company only sent over the same statement it gave The Times.
The News Media Alliance is publishing its research in an effort to show how major news aggregators — such as Google and Facebook — should share at least some of the revenue they earn acting as a middleman between news consumers and news creators.
David Chavern, the president and chief executive of the alliance, said, “[Google] makes money off this arrangement, and there needs to be a better outcome for news publishers.” Mr. Chavern also said he hoped the study would assist in the passage of the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act. The bill — which has bi-partisan support in both the House and Senate — would essentially give publishers the ability to collectively bargain with aggregators like Google over revenue splitting.
As some publishers see it, journalists and news organizations create content and then Google earns money off that content without sharing any of the revenues. These publishers understand that Google helps them earn more money by driving clicks to their websites, but see the alleged money Google is making as unfair.
“There’s the potential for a beautiful codependence,” said Terrance C.Z. Egger, the chief executive of Philadelphia Inquirer PBC. “If you look at the reason they (news aggregators) have such high engagement on their platforms, increasingly news is the number one driver. Given that, they wouldn’t want to see news go away. And yet the unintended consequence is we need to share the revenue or get paid for the content that we produce.”
The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act was introduced to Congress in April.