News Media Alliance appeals to Congress to help fight duopoly

11 Jul 2017  |  Ellen Hammett 
News Media Alliance appeals to Congress to help fight duopoly

The News Media Alliance, which represents almost 2,000 news organisations, has called on Congress to allow publishers to negotiate collectively with the two dominant distributors of online news content, Google and Facebook.

In a statement released on Monday (10 July), the NMA said it wants publishers to be able to have concrete discussions with the duopoly on business model solutions to secure the long-term availability of local journalism produced by America’s newsrooms.

"Consumer demand for immediate, reliable information is growing but the current online distribution systems are distorting the flow of economic value derived from good reporting," the NMA said.

"Google and Facebook dominate online news traffic and consume the bulk of digital ad revenue. Because of this digital duopoly, publishers are forced to surrender their content and play by their rules on how news and information is displayed, prioritised and monetised."

The NMA said this has resulted in the commoditisation of news and the rise of fake news, while the "de facto duopoly" continues to hoover up ever-increasing amounts of advertising revenue.

Last year, Google and Facebook accounted for a fifth of global advertising expenditure across all media, up from 11% in 2012. Together they captured 64% of all the growth in global adspend between 2012 and 2016.

David Chavern, president and CEO of the NMA, said: “Legislation that enables news organizations to negotiate collectively will address pervasive problems that today are diminishing the overall health and quality of the news media industry.

“Quality journalism is critical to sustaining democracy and is central to civic society. To ensure that such journalism has a future, the news organizations that fund it must be able to collectively negotiate with the digital platforms that effectively control distribution and audience access in the digital age.”

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