Google to waive ad serving fees for news publishers amid virus crisis

Google is helping news publishers that are struggling as many advertisers pulled their marketing budgets


Reuters April 18, 2020
PHOTO: REUTERS

Alphabet’s Google said on Friday it will waive for the next five months the small fee it charges news publishers to decide which ads to show on their online properties.

News publishers, especially the print media, have struggled as many advertisers pulled their marketing budgets to rein in costs because of economic uncertainty related to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Jason Kint, chief executive of media industry trade association Digital Content Next, said that any move to help the news publishing industry is appreciated.

“But we would be foolish to believe this changes any other well-founded concerns around Google’s dominance over the digital ad business,” said Kint.

Google Ad Manager, the service for which fees are being waived, is the most-used ad serving tool among news publishers, in part because of its low cost of pennies per every thousand ads shown to users. For smaller operations, it is free.

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The larger expenses for publishers are deals with Google and other technology partners that help them auction off ad slots.

Google said it is still working on other ways to provide financial support to news organisations.

In March, Facebook pledged $100 million in financing and advertising spending to support news organizations reeling from pressure due to the pandemic.

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