Google Is Not the Cause of a Decline in Newspaper Revenue

June 9, 2021

At a Google function, I met the founder of Craigslist. Now in a Silicon Valley way, the company has fingered that individual’s online service as the reason the newspaper industry collapsed. Well, maybe not completely collapsed but deteriorated enough for the likes of Silicon Valley titans to become the arbiters of truth.

The article “Google Decodes What Actually Led to Fall in Newspaper Revenue” states:

As print media houses struggle to sustain in the digital news era, a Google-led study has revealed that the decline of newspaper revenue is not happening because of Search or social advertising but from the loss of newspaper classifieds to specialist online players.

I believe this. I believe absolutely everything I read online. I am not a thumbtyper or a TikTokker, but I do try.

The analysis from economists at Accenture, commissioned by Google, looks at the revenues of newspapers in Western Europe over nearly two decades to reveal exactly what broke the old business model for newspapers.

The bad news is:

While many readers are not in the habit of paying for access to news, between 2013 and 2018, digital circulation volumes increased by 307 per cent to reach 31.5 million paying subscribers in the Western Europe region, more than offsetting the decline in paid print subscriptions.

The article reports that Google funded research revealed:

Google is significantly contributing to that growth. Over the past 20 years, Google has collaborated closely with the news industry and is one of the world’s biggest financial supporters of journalism, providing billions of dollars to support the creation of quality journalism in the digital age…

As I said, I believe everything I read online. And what about that person who created Craigslist? He may regret gobbling down those Googley hors d’oeuvres. Will newspaper publishers? Probably but those estimable titans of information may choke on the celery stick with weird sand color dip.

Stephen E Arnold, June 9, 2021


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