UK Media Industry Mobs Google For Money

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Google News is taking our advertising revenue, claim media moguls. Oh no it isn’t says Google

Representatives of British media have asked Google for money, claiming the search giant is creaming off advertising revenue without putting money into content, but Google dismissed the complaint as a “complete misconception”.

Presenters from the Guardian, other media players, and the advertising industry, criticised Google for aggregating news stories and selling advertising against them, at a seminar organised by Westminster Media Forum, to respond to the UK government’s Digital Britain Report. Google responded with a flat denial that this happens.

“Online aggregators such as Google get advertising revenue from our content,” said Carolyn McCall, chief executive of Guardian Media Group. “But pulling our content off Google would be suicide.” Google has a monopoly, and money is flowing away from content creators, she said.

” Google has half the online advertising revenue – but what percentage of that is reinvested in content?” asked Patrick Barwise, emeritus professor at the London Business School. Sixty percent of online advertising is connected to search, he said, and not linked to actually making content.

Google staff at the event flatly denied there was any issue: “This is based on a complete misconception,” said Peter Barron, director of communications in Europe for Google, pointing out that there are, in fact, no adverts on Google News. “We do not monetise other people’s content – far from it. We drive clients to newspaper websites.”

Google’s AdSense product actually helps content creators get revenue, he said, claiming that $5.4 billion has been given to web site owners, in this way. “I sympathise with content creators, because the monetisation models are not working well enough, but there is no easy answer.”

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Other issues raised at the event included the 2Mbit/s broadband service obligation, and the 50p per month levy intended to fund next-generation broadband, both of which came in for support and criticism.

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