‘Cartel’ is ‘Most Absurd Term Ever’ for Media Allowed Revenue Share With Tech Platforms: NMA

The president of the News Media Alliance endorsed legislation allowing negotiations with tech platforms for news hosting.

‘Cartel’ is ‘Most Absurd Term Ever’ for Media Allowed Revenue Share With Tech Platforms: NMA
Photo of David Chavern from News Media Alliance

WASHINGTON, March 10, 2022 – The president and CEO of the News Media Alliance said Wednesday that the news industry is far too small to threaten big tech platforms like Meta and Alphabet when it comes to negotiating for news content under proposed legislation that could force financial compensation for hosting such content.

“The idea that we would create a cartel, the most absurd term ever, that would somehow raise prices in the face of the overwhelming economic might of a company like Google is the most ridiculous, absurd, and on-its-face comment ever,” said the head of the trade association David Chavern, who is supporting the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act bill sponsored and introduced last year by Senator Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota.

The comment was made at the monthly Communications Forum hosted by The Media Institute where just last month Curtis Legeyt, president of the National Association of Broadcasters, encouraged the passing of the legislation.

Legeyt argued then that the bill, which would force the tech platforms to share some of their ad and subscription revenue with news publishers, would allow smaller broadcasting stations to get their share of the pie and compete against larger players in the industry.

But not all share the same enthusiasm of the legislation. Some doubt the legislation’s effectiveness to give power back to news organizations from content distributors like Facebook and Google. Opponents of the legislation even feel that the bill would shift the power dynamic to favor major news corporations, leaving local news outlets unheard.

Despite objections, Chavern said he remains optimistic about the legislation because of its bipartisanship. “We already have bipartisan support and there’s going to be more of it coming,” he said.

Chavern said lawmakers on both sides of the aisle “see a fundamental unfairness between the overwhelming power of the tech platforms and this comparatively smaller industry that is nonetheless critically important to their communities. Turns out that Republicans care about news in their communities like Democrats – it is an extremely bipartisan effort.”

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