Dec 14, 2021 - Business

The Ohio newspapers taking on Google and Facebook

Illustration of Facebook and Google app about to be deleted.
Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Newspapers all over the country, including more than two-dozen publications in Ohio, have filed a slate of antitrust lawsuits against Google and Facebook, Axios' Sara Fischer and Kristal Dixon report.

  • The outlets allege the two companies have a monopoly over digital ad revenue.
  • Among the publications suing the companies is the nearby Delaware Gazette.

Why it matters: Newspaper revenue has dwindled in recent decades, leading to closures and local news deserts.

By the numbers: Google and Facebook together recorded more than half of all U.S. digital ad sales in 2020, Business Insider reports.

  • Advertising is traditionally a backbone of local news outlets, but they view the increasing concentration of revenue toward these two companies as an existential threat.

What they're saying: The goal of the litigation is "to recover past damages to newspapers" caused by Big Tech companies, Clayton Fitzsimmons, one of the lawyers representing the newspapers, tells Axios.

  • Another goal is to "establish a new system going forward in which newspapers aren't just competitive again, but can thrive," he said, referencing laws like Australia's that force tech firms to pay publishers for their content.

The big picture: The lawsuits come amid growing scrutiny of business practices of big tech companies, especially in Washington, D.C.

Among the Ohio publications involved are those owned by AIM Media Midwest Operating, LLC.

  • They include the Delaware Gazette; (Washington Court House) Record Herald; Gallipolis Daily Tribune; (Pomeroy) Daily Sentinel; Galion Inquirer; Morrow County Sentinel; Lima News; Bowling Green Sentinel-Tribune; Sidney Daily News; Urbana Daily Citizen; Miami Valley Today; Portsmouth Daily Times; (Portsmouth) Community Common; Wilmington News Journal; SALT Magazine; The Star Community Guide; Xenia Daily Gazette; (Greenville) Daily Advocate; (Greenville) Early Bird; Fairborn Daily Herald; Beavercreek News-Current; Fulton County Expositor; (Hillsboro) Times-Gazette; (Eaton) Register-Herald; Swanton Enterprise; and Brookville Star.
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