Jul 10, 2017

Newspaper groups join forces to deal with Facebook and Google

On both sides of the Atlantic, news publishers are starting to think about doing what was once unthinkable: making alliances with former foes and competitors to stop their readers and revenues being subsumed by the twin digital forces of Facebook and Google. Google and Facebook are on track to control 60 per cent of the US digital advertising market this year, according to research group eMarketer, cementing their role as gatekeepers to the online revenues publishers need, as traditional print sales erode. Last month, a group of international publishers, including the Washington Post owner and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and John Elkann, chair of Exor, the company which owns 43 per cent of The Economist, met in Turin to discuss how newspapers tackle the disruption from the tech groups. Newspaper groups in the UK have been talking for months about forging a joint advertising sales house to give them a stronger bargaining position with advertisers. With print advertising revenues continuing to plummet - Daily Mirror publisher Trinity Mirror recently reported a 21 per cent fall in the 26 weeks to July 2 - groups are taking increasingly radical steps to slash costs and find ways of unlocking new revenues.

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