The News Media Alliance and President & CEO David Chavern held a Congressional briefing on Capitol Hill on Monday, June 3rd, alongside co-sponsors Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA) and Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) to highlight the fight for the business of news against tech giants Google and Facebook. Axios’s Mike Allen and Jonathan Swann shared why they have moved from traditional media to web-based.
Here are the highlights:
Until now, the Google/Facebook Duopoly has dominated internet traffic and content prioritization using proprietary algorithms and leveraging news organizations without paying a fair price for quality content. According to the News Media Alliance, the Duopoly captures 90 percent of all digital ad revenue growth and approximately 60 percent of total U.S. digital advertising. The Journalism Competition and Preservation Act aims to provide a safe harbor from antitrust laws to allow news publishers to collectively negotiate with tech companies like Google and Facebook.
Rep. Doug Collins—who originally introduced the successful Music Modernization Act of 2018, which brought music licensing its first meaningful update in almost 20 years—said at Monday’s briefing: “Twenty percent of the newspapers have closed in the last 15 years—1,800 papers since 2004. Rural communities have seen more than 500 local newspapers close or merge since then. Almost 200 counties in the country have no local newspaper, and half of the 3,143 counties have only one newspaper…If we’re going to solve [problems] and look to the future, this kind of legislation…has to say ‘how are we going to fix this in the next 5, 10, 15 years?’”
Rep. David Cicilline, Chairman of the Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee, said, “This is a really important issue for everyone in our country because we all recognize that our democracy is strongest when we have a free and diverse press.” He continued, “Last year, Facebook and Google amassed more than $60 billion from online advertising…and despite record levels of online readership, news publishers have seen a steep decline in revenue during the rise of these technology giants. The bottleneck is bleeding news publishers dry.”
Chavern moderated a panel discussion with Toni Bush (News Corp), Nicole Carroll (USA TODAY), Jonathan Kanter (Paul Weiss), and Neil Patel (Daily Caller).
Today, the Senate announced its version of the same bill (S. 1700). U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) has teamed up with Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), a presidential contender, in sponsoring the bill.
“We are thrilled that two bipartisan leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee have championed this legislation, which speaks to its widely understood importance,” said Chavern.
A hearing will be held next week on the House bill, H.R. 2054.