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Weeks after INS letter, NBA writes to Google to look into ‘unfair distribution of ad revenues’

Rajat Sharma, President of NBA wrote to Google India Country Manager, Sanjay Gupta, on March 9, stating that “Google plays a key role in this value chain as an intermediary and plays a part in delivering this news content to its audiences albeit without sufficiently compensating the content owners”.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: March 11, 2021 9:56:18 am
Weeks after INS letter, NBA writes to Google to look into ‘unfair distribution of ad revenues’The NBA president also said the “changing media landscape with the majority of the public using digital platforms to obtain their news, has resulted in a power imbalance between traditional media/news organisations and big-tech/digital technology platforms”. (Reuters File)

In a letter to Google, the News Broadcasters Association, one of the largest self-regulatory bodies for TV news channels in the country, has written that “there is an urgent need to create an equitable relationship and level the playing field between global tech monopolies and traditional media/news organisations”.

This comes days after the Australian Parliament passed a law requiring Google and Facebook to pay media companies for content and nearly two weeks after the Indian Newspaper Society wrote to Google demanding that publisher’s share of advertising revenue be increased to 85 per cent.

Rajat Sharma, President of NBA wrote to Google India Country Manager, Sanjay Gupta, on March 9, stating that “Google plays a key role in this value chain as an intermediary and plays a part in delivering this news content to its audiences albeit without sufficiently compensating the content owners”.

Sharma, NBA said in a statement on Wednesday, said in his letter that the “present situation reflects the unfair distribution of advertising revenues and opaqueness of the advertising system which is causing the digital news businesses to come under tremendous pressure/stress” and advertising revenues “form the backbone of the news broadcasters”.

However, Sharma wrote, “they are seeing their share of the advertising pie shrinking in the digital space since technology giants are taking away the major chunk, leaving news broadcasters with a nominal share”.

He said countries like Australia, France and other European nations “have taken the lead in addressing/rectifying this power imbalance through legislative enactments which ensure that Google, Facebook and other internet tech giants adequately pay news publishers for their highest quality news content”.

Google has “recently agreed to compensate and pay publishers in France, Australia and the European Union”, he wrote.

The NBA president also said the “changing media landscape with the majority of the public using digital platforms to obtain their news, has resulted in a power imbalance between traditional media/news organisations and big-tech/digital technology platforms”.

News organisations, he said, “make heavy investments in employing anchors, journalists and reporters to gather, verify and deliver credible information but are inadequately compensated – the largest share of advertising revenue flows disproportionately to Intermediary Technology Platforms such as Google, YouTube, Facebook etc”.

Sharma said “the expectation is that Google will employ principles of universal parity in dealing with news content owners and employ similar norms in India” and requested Gupta to “urgently look into the matter and examine the issues at play to ensure the ecosystem remains sustainable”.

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