Disintermediation often is described as “taking out” the middle-man between buyer and seller but when if comes to news, the Big Tech companies such as Google and Facebook and perhaps even Twitter have taken the essence of news content – perhaps a title, snippet and photo and provided it for free to their users.
Of course quite often, newspapers and magazines provide their information for free as well but use advertising as a monetizing vehicle. Big tech companies have disintermediated the advertisers and the eyeballs.
The Democrats in the House of Representatives have gotten involved and introduced a bill today that would allow media outlets to band together to negotiate for better terms with giant tech platforms.
Rep. David Cicilline‘s (D-R.I.) Journalism Competition and Preservation Act would grant a temporary antitrust waiver for news publishers to collectively negotiate with companies like Facebook and Google.
“Our democracy is strongest when we have a free, open press that informs citizens, holds public officials accountable, and roots out corruption,” Cicilline, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, said in a statement.
“This bill empowers local newspapers to negotiate collectively with the biggest technology platforms to ensure consumers have access to the best journalism possible.”
The News Media Alliance (NMA), a trade group representing hundreds of large and small outlets, has been pushing for such legislation. Last year, the group urged Congress to grant a waiver to the industry, arguing that tech giants have been squeezing them out of coveted ad dollars.