Digital Publishing A key nugget from the Pew Center’s annual State of the News Media report, out today, neatly captures a critical dynamic of the online content economy that makes it so confounding to content owners.
As Pew notes, the online audience for news is enormous and still growing rapidly. The top 25 news sites in the U.S. topped 342 million average monthly unique visitors in 2011, up 17 percent over 2010. At the same time, online advertising continues to grow at a much faster pace than the general ad market. Total online ad spending hit $32 billion last year, up 23 percent, and online ads now account for 20 percent of total ad spending.
Those two trend lines ought to ad up to good news for online publishers. But as Pew also notes, publishers themselves are capturing very little of the added value created around their content by all that additional advertising revenue. Instead, five top technology providers — Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft and AOL — captured 68 percent of the online ad revenue in 2011, up from 63 percent in 2010.
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Cloud Whatever the mysterious “entertainment device” is that Google is seeking permission from the FCC to test in the homes of its employees, it almost certainly is not a device for streaming music wirelessly around the home, as the Wall Street Journal speculated last week. While I’m sure it will be capable of streaming music wirelessly, I’m certain it will be capable of a lot more than that, too.
The device itself isn’t really much of a mystery. Google pretty much told us what it would be last year, at Google I/O 2011, when it showed off a pair of “Tungston” devices. Among other things it does, Google described the Tungston as an “end point for Google Music Beta,” that would retrieve music stored in users’ Google cloud locker and stream it wirelessly around the house.
That really can’t be all there is to it, however. For one thing, as noted by Tom Cullen, co-founder of Sonos, which already sells a device for streaming music wirelessly around the home, his company’s total annual revenue is only about $200 million a year, which would barely register for Google, which raked in $38 billion last year. For another, the “home entertainment device” referred to in Google’s
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Legislation The blame-storming in Hollywood over the failure of SOPA and the Protect-IP Act has begun. MPAA chief Chris Dodd offers a half-hearted mea culpa in the New York Times, acknowledging a “perception problem” for the industry. But he pins most of the blame on “irresponsible” technology players like Wikipedia, Google and Reddit for stirring up the natives with their blackouts and black propaganda.
More darkly, many in the media industry are blaming President Barack Obama for the loss, accusing him of a stab in the back for siding publicly with Silicon Valley after Hollywood had raised millions for his campaigns. One time SOPA and PIPA supporters in Congress who went wobbly in the face of public pressure are also coming in for scorn.
Most of the problems the media companies have had over SOPA and PIPA, however, have been self-inflicted.
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