News organizations ask Congress for authority to collectively bargain with Google, Facebook

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July 11, 2017 by Paul Dughi

COngress

The New Media Alliance represent almost 2,000 news organizations, primarily newspapers.  This week, the organization starting asking Congress for some help in taking on the big internet companies.  Call it a pre-emptive strike for collective bargaining with Google and Facebook.

It’s no secret that Goo-book dominates digital advertising.  In the third quarter of 2016, 99% of all new online ad revenue went to two internet publishing giants, according to Pivotal Research.

Monopoly/Duopoly status?  Anti-trust concerns?

The News Media Alliance wants to be able to allow publishers to negotiate collectively with dominant online platforms. “The objective,” the Alliance says, “is to permit publishers to have concrete discussions with the two dominant distributors of online news content, Google and Facebook, on business model solutions to secure the long-term availability of local journalism produced by America’s newsrooms.”

“Because of this digital duopoly, publishers are forced to surrender their content and play by their rules on how news and information is displayed, prioritized and monetized.” – News Media Alliance

The two account for 77% of all online ad spending in the U.S.

Antitrust laws, the Alliance cites, are intended to address the injury inflicted by dominant monopolistic companies. “Yet when it comes to the media, existing laws are having the unintended consequence of preventing news organizations from working together to negotiate better deals that will sustain local, enterprise journalism that is critical to a vibrant democracy.”

“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,” said David Chavern, President & CEO of the News Media Alliance. “Quality journalism is critical to sustaining democracy and is central to civic society. To ensure that such journalism has a future, the news organizations that fund it must be able to collectively negotiate with the digital platforms that effectively control distribution and audience access in the digital age.”

 

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