News & Tech: HD Media Files Suit Against Google, Facebook

February 1, 2021

Article by: News & Tech

HD Media Files Suit Against Google, Facebook

HD Media, a West Virginia newspaper company, filed a federal antitrust lawsuit Jan. 29 against Google and Facebook charging the companies with monopolizing the digital advertising market. This is believed to be the first lawsuit of its kind filed by a newspaper company against the tech giants for their monopolistic practices, said a HD Media news release.

Owner of the Charleston Gazette-Mail, The Herald-Dispatch (Huntington) and a half-dozen weeklies, HD Media filed a 42-page complaint in the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.

HD Media claims Google has monopolized the digital advertising market to such an extent that Google has been enabled to extract a supracompetitive share of HD Media’s advertising revenues, harming the company’s ability to effectively monetize its content. The complaint alleges that Google and Facebook violated antitrust laws by conspiring to further their worldwide dominance of the digital advertising market, entering into a secret agreement codenamed “Jedi Blue” to manipulate online auctions.

The complaint also alleges that Google has monopolized the digital advertising market to such an extent it threatens the extinction of local papers across the country. “The freedom of the press is not at stake,” the suit says. “The press itself is at stake.” “We invite every other newspaper in America to join this cause,” said Doug Reynolds, HD Media managing partner. “We are fighting not only for the future of the press but also the preservation of our democracy.”

 New Jersey Weeklies Going Non-profit

 The new Corporation for New Jersey Local Media has an agreement with the New Jersey Hills Media Group to work together to convert the group’s 14 weeklies to nonprofit ownership under the Corporation for New Jersey Local Media.  CNJLM is a registered New Jersey nonprofit corporation operating under the aegis of the non-profit Community Foundation of New Jersey.

This will be the first conversion of an established weekly newspaper group to non-profit ownership in the country and the first such project supported by a community-based fundraising effort, says the CNJLM website. Upon completion of the transition, the New Jersey Hills Media Group will be the biggest weekly newspaper under non-profit ownership in the nation, covering 52 municipalities, says a press release on the move. The weekly papers serve Morris, Somerset, Essex and Hunterdon counties.

Liz Parker and Steve Parker are co-owners of the New Jersey Hills Media Group. CNJLM Executive Director Amanda Richardson and Founding Chair Nic Platt announced that they would launch a community fund-raising drive with a $500,000 goal on CNJLM’s website at www.newsweneed.org to generate revenue, the Bernardsville News reported.  “Non-profit newspapers as large as the Philadelphia Inquirer and as small as Montclair Local have demonstrated the benefits of a non-profit model that supplements traditional newspaper advertising and subscription revenue with grants, events and charitable contributions to fund robust local journalism that enhances civic engagement and builds stronger communities,” said Platt, according to the paper.

Agillic, MPP Global Partnering

Agillic and MPP Global are partnering to provide a “comprehensive, end-to-end subscription solution,” says a press release on the partnership. The partnership combines Agillic’s personalization and marketing platform with MPP Global’s subscriber management and billing platform, “to optimize the entire customer lifecycle from acquisition to revenue optimization, retention and win-back,” says the release.

Software company Agillic, headquartered in Copenhagen, enables marketers to maximize the use of data and translate it into relevant and personalized communication, says the release.

MPP Global, headquartered in the U.K. and with offices in the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific, provides subscriber management and billing platform eSuite.

Mittera Buys Trend

Print company Mittera has acquired the assets of Trend Offset Printing. Headquartered in Los Alamitos, California, Trend Offset is a national printer serving retail, magazine, catalog and direct mail advertising segments. “The addition of Trend Offset will enhance Mittera’s presence in retail as well as commercial printing services,” said a press release from Mittera.

“Trend’s priority is to create a seamless transition for our clients. We believe this direction will provide the greatest opportunity and value for our employees, vendors and clients alike,” said Todd Nelson, CEO of Trend Offset. Mittera, with corporate offices in Des Moines, operates facilities in Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, New York, Florida, Texas, New Jersey and Colorado.

Twitter Buys Newsletter Startup Revue

Twitter has bought newsletter startup Revue. Revue is a service that makes it free for anyone to publish editorial newsletters, says Twitter. “Revue will accelerate our work to help people stay informed about their interests while giving all types of writers a way to monetize their audience, whether it’s through the one they built at a publication, their website, on Twitter or elsewhere,” said a blog post from Twitter. Twitter is making Revue’s Pro features free for all accounts and lowering the paid newsletter fee to 5%.

Revue was founded in the Netherlands. Revue customers include Vox Media and the Chicago Sun-Times, says CNBC. Revue is a competitor with services such as Substack, says CNBC. Twitter didn’t make the terms of the deal public.

Medill Survey: Few See Ads as Best Answer to Money Woes

The financial distress threatening the future of the local news industry is now a pervasive concern of those working in the media business, and few of them see ad revenue as the best path forward, according to a new survey by Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications.

Asked to rate their concern about the future sustainability of local news, 81.2% said they were very concerned and 17.7 were somewhat concerned. Only 1% were not at all concerned.

The highest concern was expressed by people working for newspapers (86.7% very concerned) and digital-only outlets (84.5% very concerned). “I think one of the problems for a number of years was that local news organizations were in a bit of denial about the extent of the problem. Now they’re in no denial,” said Tim Franklin, Medill senior associate dean and John M. Mutz Chair in Local News. “These numbers show everybody gets it. There needs to be a reinvention of local news.”

The Medill Media Industry Survey of nearly 1,400 members of the U.S. news media was conducted by Associate Professor Stephanie Edgerly of the Medill School.

More news

  • Gannett intends to sell The Hawk Eye (Burlington, Iowa) building, the paper reports. The building is one of some 160 buildings Gannett owns that are up for sale, says the paper.
  •  The marketing and ad functions of four Pennsylvania papers are being merged. The Observer-ReporterThe Almanac, the Greene CountyMessengerand Herald-Standard in Uniontown are owned by West Virginia-based Ogden Newspapers.
  • The Telegraph Herald (Dubuque, Iowa) moved its printing to Woodward Printing Services in Platteville, Wisconsin. The move ushered in a new size for the Telegraph Herald, around 4 inches shorter and a little bit wider, the paper said.

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