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  • Writer's pictureStaff @ LT&C

Gannett Files Lawsuit Against Google Alleging Antitrust Violations in Online Ad Market

Gannett, the prominent newspaper chain in the United States, has filed a lawsuit against Google, claiming that the tech giant has engaged in illegal antitrust practices by exploiting its monopoly over the technology used by publishers to buy and sell online advertisements.


The complaint was lodged in the U.S. District Court in the Southern District of New York, targeting both Google and its parent company, Alphabet. Gannett argued that Google's dominant position in the digital advertising market has significantly impeded potential revenue for publishers.


According to the complaint, the online ad market is valued at $200 billion annually. However, news publishers have experienced a staggering 70 percent decline in advertising revenue since 2009, leading to a decline in journalism jobs and the closure of numerous newspapers.


The lawsuit alleged that "Google controls how publishers sell their ad slots, and it forces publishers to sell growing shares of that ad space to Google at depressed prices." Consequently, publishers and Google's ad-tech competitors have witnessed a substantial reduction in revenue, while Google itself enjoys monopoly profits.

This legal action adds to a series of lawsuits challenging Google's advertising practices. In January, the U.S. Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google, seeking to dismantle its monopoly in digital advertising. Similarly, the European Commission filed a similar case just last week, and the UK's antitrust authority has been investigating Google's advertising practices.


Mike Reed, CEO of Gannett, stated, "News publishers depend on digital ad revenue to provide timely, cutting-edge reporting and essential content communities rely on." He further expressed concerns about Google's practices negatively impacting revenue and the footprint of local news.


Gannett, which publishes USA Today and over 200 daily newspapers nationwide, including The Arizona Republic and The Palm Beach Post, claimed in the lawsuit that it had closed more than 170 publications since 2019.

Responding to the lawsuit, Dan Taylor, Vice President of Google Ads, stated that the claims made by Gannett were unfounded. He emphasized that publishers have multiple options for advertising technology and asserted that when they utilize Google tools, "they keep the vast majority of the revenue." Taylor pledged to demonstrate in court how Google's advertising products benefit publishers and support their online content.


Last year, Google generated nearly 80 percent of its $60 billion profit from advertising, which serves as the foundation for popular services like search, YouTube, and email.

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