Newspapers seek antitrust exemption to band together in fight against Google and Facebook – Los Angeles Times

For years, news organizations have had little recourse but to cede more distribution and advertising dollars to Facebook and Google, even agreeing to give away articles in the hopes the wider digital audience will pay off in the long run.

But as profits continue to decline in journalism, news media executives have decided time is running out to make a change.

An industry trade group called the News Media Alliance — which counts the Los Angeles’ Times parent company Tronc, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and scores of smaller newspapers among its members — is calling on federal lawmakers to grant the industry an exemption from antitrust rules to negotiate collectively with the technology giants.

By banding together, news outlets would have more leverage against two companies that command more than 70% of the $73-billion digital advertising industry in the U.S. By comparison, newspaper ad revenue in 2016 amounted to $18 billion, down from $50 billion a decade ago, according to the Pew Research Center.

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