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News Organisations Seek Antitrust Exemption in Effort to Bargain with Google and Facebook

A group of news organizations will seek a limited antitrust exemption from Congress in an effort to win the right to negotiate with advertising tech giants such as Google and Facebook.

The New York Times reports that as tech companies such as Google and Facebook continue to dominate the online advertising market, publications that comprise “the newspaper industry” have begun searching for ways to bargain with the high-powered tech giants. This week, some of these publications have banded together to request a limited antitrust exemption from Congress in an effort to gain the right to negotiate collectively.

David Charen, the chief executive of the News Media Alliance, published an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal recently where he explained some of the financial figures behind the group’s complaints. “The problem is that today’s internet distribution systems distort the flow of economic value derived from good reporting,” said Charen. “Google and Facebook dominate web traffic and online ad income. Together, they account for more than 70% of the $73 billion spent each year on digital advertising, and they eat up most of the growth. Nearly 80% of all online referral traffic comes from Google and Facebook. This is an immensely profitable business.”

The News Media Alliance has united a number of well-known publications as they spearhead the effort to negotiate as a group. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post, as well as many regional papers such as The Star Tribune of Minneapolis, have all joined forces in an attempt to save this revenue source.

Campbell Brown, Facebook’s head of news partnerships, commented on the situation, saying, “We’re committed to helping quality journalism thrive on Facebook. We’re making progress through our work with news publishers and have more work to do.” Facebook executives plan to meet with news publishers this week in order to introduce news ways to sell subscriptions to these publications through Facebook.

Facebook executives plan to meet with news publishers this week in order to introduce news ways to sell subscriptions to these publications through Facebook.

Google similarly expressed their support, saying in a statement, “We want to help publishers succeed as they transition to digital.” Google referred to the effort as “a priority.” Publishers have stated that they do appreciate the companies’ efforts but, Mike Klingensmith, the publisher of The Star Tribune and the chairman of the News Media Alliance, told the New York Times in an interview, “they’re talking to us, but there hasn’t been a lot of action yet.”

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan_ or email him at lnolan@breitbart.com

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