Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Google makes billions from news, says media group study

Google makes billions from news, says media group study

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A News Media Alliance-sponsored study claims that Google makes billions from content of news organisations without compensating publishers. ALAIN JOCARD/AFP

Google makes billions from news, says media group study

Google took in some $4.7 billion in revenue last year from “crawling and scraping” news websites without paying publishers, according to an industry-sponsored study released on Monday which was disputed by the tech giant and media analysts.

The study by the News Media Alliance underscores industry arguments about Google and other online giants harming traditional news organisations by dominating the internet news ecosystem and ad revenues generated through it.

According to the study, Google has increasingly monetised news content as it works to keep consumers in its ecosystem, and that news searches helps the internet giant gather data from its users to help tailor its other products.

The report is expected to be presented this week to a congressional hearing on antitrust abuses by Big Tech firms and to support legislation that would allow news organisations exemptions from antitrust to negotiate digital revenues.

Google disputed the findings of the study, as did some media analysts.

“These back of the envelope calculations are inaccurate as a number of experts are pointing out,” a Google spokesperson said.

“The overwhelming number of news queries do not show ads. The study ignores the value Google provides. Every month Google News and Google Search drive over 10 billion clicks to publishers’ websites, which drive subscriptions and significant ad revenue.”

Other analysts also voiced scepticism about the methods and conclusions of the study by the media group previously known as the Newspaper Association of America.

Jeff Jarvis, a City University of New York journalism professor, called the study flawed, in part because it relies on “snippets” in search results.

“Snippets in search are NOT content,” Jarvis said on Twitter. “They are links TO the publishers. Google does not monetise Google News. When it makes money on news it’s by serving ads ON publishers’ sites.”

Temple University professor Aron Pilhofer said the study fails to consider how Google drives users to news websites where publishers can generate revenue.

“Even if you accept the methodology (which I do not), I think it’s fair to also account for all the traffic Google is pushing to publisher sites, wouldn’t it? This is just silly,” Pilhofer tweeted.

The study comes months after the EU adopted a hotly contested copyright law that could require Google and other online giants to pay publishers for news content in search results.

Many media companies and artists backed the EU move aimed at getting revenue from web platforms. But the law was strongly opposed by internet freedom activists and by Silicon Valley on concerns it could chill the sharing of information.

MOST VIEWED

  • Man Covid-19 positive after Thailand trip

    The Ministry of Health on Saturday reported the third Covid-19 case in less than two weeks, bringing the total to 125. The man, a 26-year-old from Tbong Khmum province's Tbong Khmum district, arrived at the O'Beichoan border checkpoint in Banteay Meanchey province on Thursday. He is

  • Kingdom's GDP growth to narrow -1% to -2.9%, World Bank says

    The World Bank expects further recoil on Cambodia’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth to between minus one per cent and minus 2.9 per cent for 2020 as its main growth drivers – tourism, manufacturing exports and construction – take a beating due to Covid-19, its latest economic update

  • Vietnam: Tougher sentences for child abusers

    Several National Assembly (NA) deputies in Vietnam are calling for tougher penalties to be handed down to child abusers. They hope stricter punishments will act as a strong deterrent to prevent offenders committing further offences in the future. Extreme measures such as chemical castration were

  • Central bank to shun small US banknotes

    The National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) is considering not accepting smaller denominated US dollar banknotes – $1, $2 and $5 – from banks and microfinance institutions (MFIs) which it said are flooding its stockpile as the demand for those notes is low. While some banking insiders welcomed the move as

  • PM lauded in Covid-19 fight

    World Health Organisation (WHO) director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus sent a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen thanking him for following the WHO’s guidance and commending Cambodia’s efforts in the fight against Covid-19. In his letter made public by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

  • Workers return, hope for salaries

    More than 600 factory workers in the capital’s Chaom Chao commune in Por Sen Chey district returned to work after the factory’s owner promised to pay their salaries in instalments until the middle of next month. On Tuesday and Wednesday, more than 600 workers gathered