“We have worked with the news industry in India for years, helping publishers grow their businesses through ads and subscription services, and look forward to explain how we work with them,” Google India has said.
The search giant said this in response to a story by exchange4media on Thursday, Google’s good growth rekindles publishers’ demand for higher share in ad revenue.
“Our products are built to provide relevant and useful information, ensuring that people around the world are able to find quality news,” said a Google spokesperson hours after the story was published.
“We’ve worked closely with the news industry in India for years, helping publishers grow their businesses through ads and subscription services and increase audiences by driving valuable traffic to their sites,” the spokesperson claimed.
“We are reviewing the details of the CCI order (that came early this year) and we look forward to explaining how we work with publishers, businesses and consumers,” read the statement.
The Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA) had moved fair trade regulator Competition Commission of India (CCI) a year ago accusing Google of denying publishers of what they deserve. The CCI, in January this year, ordered a probe against Google for its alleged abuse of dominant position after finding the charges to be “prima facie true”.
Google gives publishers 10-15 per cent share of what it earns from advertisements, which the news publishers feel is grossly unfair considering their contribution in fuelling Google’s advertising and search business, the DNPA has alleged in its complaint to the CCI.
“In a well-functioning democracy, the critical role played by news media cannot be undermined, and it needs to be ensured that digital gatekeeper firms do not abuse their dominant position to harm the competitive process of determining a fair distribution of revenue amongst all stakeholders,” CCI had said in the order.
The commission was of a prima facie view that Google had violated provisions of Section 4 of the Competition Act, 2002 which pertains to abuse of dominant position.
Publishers argued that it was not only a violation of the Competition Act, 2002 but also a violation of the Constitution of India, as the consumers have the right to access credible news.
Digital news publishers claim that they deserve a major share of the ad revenue as they believe Google is merely a “distributor” of news while they are the “producers” who spend money and resources in creating content.
“Google is like Walmart or Amazon of news. It must keep a 10-15% cut and the rest of the ad revenue should be distributed among digital news producers just like Amazon and Walmart do with the sellers. At present, it’s the exact opposite,” a news publisher alleged.
The publishers also seek clarity on Google’s ad revenue from news sites as they accused the tech giant of opaqueness on this matter.
They also allege there was a lack of transparency in online digital advertising intermediation services, which makes it difficult for publishers to audit and verify the ad revenue generated on their websites.