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Saturday, February 27, 2021

Big Tech and the News Business

Lawmakers gunning for Big Tech are lending an ear

to news publishers, whose ad revenue has collapsed

while Silicon Valley amassed riches.

One approach under consideration is an antitrust

exemption that would let publishers band together to

negotiate payments from tech companies that use

their news stories. The news industry’s lobbying

group, the News Media Alliance, is leading the fight

for the legislation.

Tech companies function as gatekeepers for news,

the place where people often find stories online.

Publishers benefit when they get additional traffic, but

they are also left at the whims of these mighty

services. Business models take a hit, for example,

when Facebook changes which posts appear more

prominently on users’ feeds.

At the same time, Facebook and Google together

win the majority of money spent on online

advertising. That’s because they have a huge

audience and masses of data that advertisers want

for targeting ads. It’s hard for publishers, already

hard-hit by the meltdown in print advertising and

losses in circulation,

to compete.

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