A new report released by the News Media Alliance suggests Google is leveraging news publishers to the tune of $US4.7 billion (SAUD6.7 billion) “from crawling and scraping news publishers’ content – without paying the publishers for that use”.
And News Media Alliance president & CEO David Chavern said publishers deserve a cut.
“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,” he said.
The report also highlights the way in which Google uses the news function to keep users in its ecosystem.
Through accelerated mobile pages (AMP) and the addition of the ‘Breaking News’ function on YouTube (which Google owns), it is possible for users to get all of their news without going to a publisher’s website, says the News Media Alliance.
“This means more money goes back to Google and not the publishers producing the content,” Chavern added.
Although the group describes the $US4.7 billion sum as a “conservative estimate”, not everyone is buying the News Media Alliance’s claims.
“These back of the envelope calculations are inaccurate as a number of experts are pointing out,” said a Google spokesperson.
“The overwhelming number of news queries do not show ads. The study ignores the value Google provides.”
The figure is largely based on a claim a Google spokesperson made in 2008 – that Google News brought in $100 million in yearly revenue without ads.
The report has “extrapolated in a straightforward way to suggest an estimated $4.7 billion of revenue in 2018 to Google from news content on Google Search and Google News”.
Google also presented the inverse argument – that it is helping keep these news publications afloat by directing traffic to them.