Here’s Why Newspapers Are Banding Together To Fight Google And Facebook

When it comes to the digital advertising market, the word “duopoly” has become the dominant descriptor for Google and Facebook, something neither company seems to dispute. Though estimates differ, the two online platforms receive the lion’s share of money spent on digital advertising—and that share keeps getting bigger. According to eMarketer, the Silicon Valley behemoths are expected to control nearly 60% of the booming market this year, while others say that percentage is even higher.

At the same time, the news media business is flailing. Even as audiences consume more news content, the publishers that undergo the expensive process of producing it are not reaping the monetary rewards. Digital news distribution has become more reliant on the whims of Google and Facebook, and that means those companies set the terms of the turf.

But a new effort is under way to help level the playing field. Led by the News Media Alliance, a trade group representing the newspaper industry, media companies are coming together to try and collectively bargain with the two digital media platform giants.

“The problem,” writes News Media Alliance president David Chavern in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, “is that today’s internet distribution systems distort the flow of economic value derived from good reporting.” Publishers, editors, and reporters put in the real work, while Facebook and Google reap the benefits. The trade group is asking Congress for a special exemption that would allow newspaper companies safe harbor from antitrust law as a way to seek collective bargaining....more