Study Finds Big Tech Making Billions On News Industry’s Back

According to a new study, if big tech companies like Meta and Google had to pay news organizations a portion of the revenues the platforms generated through using news content, they would be paying as much as $14 billion a year, Deseret reported.

The study, published by the Brattle Group, analyzed the revenue Facebook and Google receive by featuring excerpts from news outlets in social media posts and search results. The researchers then determined “fair payment” values for the ad revenue generated by the platforms from using content from news publishers.

Based on a 50-50 split, the researchers determined that Facebook would have to pay news outlets $1.9 billion each year while Google would pay between $10 and $12 billion annually.

While Facebook and Google already have revenue-sharing agreements with news outlets, the payouts are far short of the “fair payment” the researchers developed and do not reflect “the full value generated” by the platforms from using news content, according to the researchers.

The US newspaper industry has been financially declining since 2005 as the consumption of news has moved online.

According to the Pew Research Center, combined advertising and circulation revenues for the newspaper industry dropped from $50 billion in 2005 to only $20 billion last year.

Last year, Pew noted that the most common source of news for Americans is from digital devices using news websites, search engines, and apps. Additionally, half of Americans get at least some of their news from social media.

According to the researchers with the Brattle Group, the “fair payment” includes only the revenue platforms like Meta and Google generate from news content and not the platform’s total revenue.

The researchers estimated that 6.6 percent of Facebook’s ad revenue and 17.5 percent of the Google Search ad revenue should be paid to news outlets every year.