Thursday, June 9, 2005 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

Google Is a Media Company... and the Biggest One in the World

Apparently I'm not the only one who thinks that Google is a media company. Check out this Reuters story about how Google is not only a media company, but with its stock trading at a staggering $293 a share, it is the most valuable media company in the world. In just 10 months of trading as a public company, it has surpassed Time Warner to take that honor.

Meanwhile, Google and Yahoo! are "sucking the financial air out of the room" in terms of stealing away valuable advertising dollars from newspapers. According to this story, when it comes to new revenue, Google and Yahoo! have generated $4 billion last year--the same amount as the 10 largest newspaper companies combined! Folks, when two new companies are stealing away that much revenue from other industry players, that's a sure fire sign that consumers find these products or outlets interchangeable. That is, they are substitutes for one another and they are part of the same "relevant market" in antitrust terms.

So, now that Google is a media company, should we start imposing silly ownership caps and audience reach limits on them the same way we do for the older media giants? I think most would agree that would be foolish, but the reality is that the old media operators still have their hands tied by regulators in many ways while Google and other new media giants storm ahead without any similar regulatory shackles. Seems sort of silly and blatantly unfair doesn't it?

[UPDATE (6/10): Check out this interesting story about Google's efforts to improve its automated newsgathering capabilities. The title of the story, "Can Google News Robot Rival the Newspapermen?" is great, but the subtitle is the real kicker:
"A Potential Nightmare Faces the 'Dead-Tree-and-Ink' Business." No doubt about it.

posted by Adam Thierer @ 10:26 AM | Mass Media