CNN President Jeff Zucker expressed confusion Monday over why regulators look into big corporations in the telecommunications and media industry when it comes to their growing power but not tech companies like Facebook or Google.
“Everyone is looking at whether these combinations of AT&T and Time Warner or Fox and Disney pass government approval and muster, the fact is nobody for some reason is looking at these monopolies that are Google and Facebook,” Zucker said during a speech at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, according to Variety. “That’s where the government should be looking, and helping to make sure everyone else survives. I think that’s probably the biggest issue facing the growth of journalism in the years ahead.”
He argues that the aforementioned tech giants are causing headaches for digital media organizations because of their respective and collective dominant (and expanding) stake in the online ad market.
“In a Google and Facebook world, monetization of digital and mobile continues to be more difficult than we would have expected or liked,” Zucker continued. “I think we need help from the advertising world and from the technology world to find new ways to monetize digital content, otherwise good journalism will go away.”
The CNN leader isn’t the only media mogul to voice his distaste over Google and Facebook’s duopoly over digital media advertising.
Tina Brown, an influential figure who worked at Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, said late in 2017 that she is so irritated and disappointed with how those firms are hogging advertising revenue that she proposed Google and Facebook create a super-fund for traditional media. Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of News Corp, also shared somewhat similar concerns, asserting that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg seems genuine in his interest to help, but that “political bias” and a “serious lack of transparency” may make it difficult to truly be fair.
The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and several other news organizations set up a coalition known as the News Media Alliance in order to collectively petition federal lawmakers to provide them an exemption from antitrust regulations, according to multiple reports. Such a reclassification would allow media entities to join forces in order to more effectively negotiate with the two tech conglomerates, which is important for the industry’s attempts to earn more ad revenue and end Google and Facebook’s hegemony.
Overall, Zucker’s consternation with the lack of serious talk about federally reigning in Facebook and Google joins other top media executives, even cutting across ideological lines. After all, there’s a newfound hatred of Silicon Valley and it’s mostly bipartisan.
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