The News Media Alliance published a new study, revealing that Google received around $4.7 billion in revenue in 2018 from news publishers.
According to the findings, reported by The New York Times over the weekend, the tech giant amassed that sum through crawling and scraping news publishers’ content.
One key issue is that news publishers were not paid for any usage.
In fact, the study suggests Google has become more reliant on news as it increases consumer engagement. While Google brought in an estimated $4.7 billion, the entirety of the U.S. news industry made $5.1 billion in digital advertising last year, noted the newspaper.
The Times further reported that around 40% of clicks on Google’s trending queries are for news.
The study was written by the News Media Alliance (NMA) and contains analysis conducted by strategy and economics consulting firm Keystone Strategy. The report contains a qualitative overview of usage of news content by Google and an analysis of the amount of news content found on Google Search and Google news.
Google responded to The Times contesting the study's findings. In a statement published by The Times, Google wrote: “These back-of-the envelope calculations are inaccurate” and “the overwhelming number of news queries do not show ads.”
“We’ve worked very hard to be a collaborative and supportive technology and advertising partner to news publishers worldwide,” it wrote.
The company added that Google news and search drives subscriptions and ad revenue for publishers by sending over 10 billion clicks to their websites.
The NMA, however, reports its figures are conservative estimates of what Google makes from news content. The real numbers are difficult to quantify, given several factors, including how the company uses news to drive traffic, develop products and maintain its dominance. The organization also notes that Google uses its products to keep users inside its ecosystem.
“The findings clearly point to Google responding to an increase in consumers searching for news, creating and tailoring products that keep users within its ecosystem. This means more money goes back to Google and not the publishers producing the content,” News Media Alliance President-CEO David Chavern stated.