Google is raking in billions of dollars per year thanks to the news industry — and not sharing a cut of the profits — according to a new study released on Monday.
The tech giant made $4.7 billion from publisher content surfaced in Search and News last year, according to the study from the News Media Alliance. Google Search “relies heavily on news content to increase user engagement,” the study said, pointing out that more than 90% of Americans now get at least some of their news online.
David Chavern, president of the NMA, believes publishers deserve a share of the money Google is earning off highlighting their work.
“They make money off this arrangement,” Chavern told The New York Times, “and there needs to be a better outcome for news publishers.”
News, the study said, is “increasingly important” to Google, accounting for about 40% of its trending search queries. Not only are publishers stiffed on receiving their share of the company’s earnings, the study said, but they’re also left without access to valuable user data. Overall, Google’s parent company Alphabet pulled in more than $135 billion in revenue last year.
Google pushed back against the study in a statement to The Times, saying it drives more than 10 billion clicks to publishers each month, helping boost subscription and ad revenue. “We’ve worked very hard to be a collaborative and supportive technology and advertising partner to news publishers worldwide,” a company spokesperson said.
The study comes as several outlets have struggled to adjust to changing media dynamics in recent years, with major publishers like Vice laying off hundreds of workers this year.
Many publishers have experimented with adding video content to drive ad revenue, but that has been an inconsistent bet, at best.
You can read the full study here.