Newspapers Challenge Google, Facebook ‘Duopoly’

“First big step media industry leaders are taking to rally government action against the Google-Facebook duopoly”

Last Updated: July 10, 2017 @ 9:11 AM

A newspaper trade group that represents more than 2,000 American newspapers is asking Congress for an antitrust safe harbor against Google and Facebook, which it considers a “duopoly,” according to Axios.

“This is the first big step media industry leaders are taking to rally government action against the Google-Facebook duopoly,” CEO and President of News Media Alliance David Chavern told Axios.

According to Chavern, The News Media Alliance says that current media competition laws prevent news organizations from joining forces to negotiate better deals with major Internet platforms, such as Google and Facebook.

A “duopoly” is like a monopoly, except two businesses dominate a particular market, as opposed to only one. The News Media Alliance has support from major papers including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post. The group wants federal lawmakers to grant the newspaper industry an exemption from antitrust rules to negotiate collectively with Google and Facebook.

Chavern told Axios that American lawmakers have ignored the issue that allows Google and Facebook to expand to a point that it is essentially impossible for anyone else to compete.

“They control over 60 percent of the U.S. digital ad market and over 50 percent of the global digital ad market. Meanwhile, media companies’ ad revenues continue to decline,” he told Axios.

Chavern wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal to detail his position but has not yet called out any specific lawmakers or committees.

“We are just starting to work the Hill,” NMA Chairman Michael J. Klingensmith, publisher and CEO of the Minneapolis Star Tribune Media told Axios.

The group is looking for four key changes: increased advertising revenue sharing, additional support for news subscription models, better data sharing and improved brand support, according to Axios.