Roku Calls Google ‘Unchecked Monopolist’ After Tech Giant Posts YouTube TV App Workaround

QUARTERLY REPORT

Google’s First Quarter Ad Sales Surge 32%, Alphabet Profit Doubles

The robust first quarter advertising growth announced Tuesday provides the latest sign that advertisers are expecting the economy to roar back to life as more people get vaccinated against COVID-19 and burst out of their pandemic cocoons.

Univision In Long-Term Digital Deal With Google

Univision said it has made a multi-year deal to use products and services from Google to make its media businesses more digital. The deal includes Univision using Google’s cloud to consolidate its multiple digital distribution platforms and run production and data applications. Univision will also take advantage of Google’s Android, Android TV OS, YouTube, Google Play, Google Ad Manager and Google search.

FTC Urged To Investigate Google’s Marketing Of Children’s Apps

Two Democratic lawmakers are urging the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether Google misleads parents by falsely representing that childrens’ apps on the Play Store comply with a federal privacy law. “New research suggests that Google misleadingly markets children’s apps as compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act … despite evidence that many of those apps illegally track children’s behavior and share their personal information without consent,” Sen. Ed Markey and Rep. Kathy Castor said Wednesday in a letter to the agency.

Supreme Court Hands Google A Landmark Win

Google can let out a huge sigh of relief now that the Supreme Court has saved the tech giant from billions of dollars in damages in a long-lasting lawsuit brought by Oracle over computer code used to build the Android operating system.  As for big movie studios, while a copyright dispute about computer code might not seem like a subject of particular consequence for them, an opinion from Justice Stephen Breyer concluding that Google made fair use of copyrighted material will very likely be discussed for quite some time and be invoked in other contexts. As such, a few lines in particular from today’s opinion could have many in Hollywood quite tense about a future staked on intellectual property.

Google: Advanced Ad Impressions Bounced Back After COVID

After a dip in the second quarter as spending paused in the early days of the pandemic, advanced TV ad impressions rebounded as 2020 went on, according to a report from Google. Advanced ad impressions fell 18% in the second quarter, despite a 14% increase in viewing. By the third quarter, advanced TV ad impressions were up 40% from the second quarter lows and continued to increase in the fourth quarter.

Google Begins Testing Browser-Based Ad Targeting In U.S.

Google this week began testing its controversial cookie-less tracking and targeting system, which relies on placing Chrome users into audience segments based on their web-browsing history, and then transmitting data about those segments directly to publishers. The company has enrolled “a small percentage” of users in the United States and other countries in tests of its new, so-called “Federated Learning of Cohorts.”

TVN FOCUS ON DIGITAL

TVN Focus On Digital | Facebook Remains TV Stations’ Most Important Social Platform

Facebook overwhelmingly is the most important social media platform for TV stations, say executives for CBS stations, E.W. Scripps, Nexstar, NBCU stations, Fox stations and Meredith. Broadcasters’ relationship with the platform once widely viewed as a “frenemy” continues to evolve, though the opacity of its all-important algorithm still frustrates. Note: This story is available to TVNewsCheck Premium members only. If you would like to upgrade your free TVNewsCheck membership to Premium now, you can visit your Member Home Page, available when you log in at the very top right corner of the site or in the Stay Connected Box that appears in the right column of virtually every page on the site. If you don’t see Member Home, you will need to click Log In or Subscribe.

Rep. Cicilline: Big Tech Power Could Spell Local News Extinction

Facebook and Google’s market power, especially over digital advertising, has translated to a potential “extinction level event” for local news operations, broadcast, online and print. That was the underlying message of House Antitrust Subcommittee chairman David Cicilline (D-R.I.) at a hearing Friday on “Saving a Free and Diverse Press.”

Facebook, Google Fight Bill To Help News Industry

Lobbyists for Facebook and Google threw their weight against new U.S. legislation that seeks to aid struggling news publishers by allowing them to negotiate collectively against the tech companies over revenue sharing and other deals. Google, which declined comment on the proposal, launched a website on Thursday asserting it is “one of the world’s biggest financial supporters of journalism” by virtue of the ad revenue and content licensing fees it provides to media.

Google To Stop Ad Sales Based On Users’ Browsing History

Google on Wednesday said it will stop selling ads based on tracking specific users from website to website — a major decision from the world’s biggest digital advertiser that will surely affect the entire industry moving forward.

Tech Groups Sue Maryland Over Online Ad Tax

A coalition of trade organizations filed a lawsuit Thursday against the Maryland state government over passage of a bill that imposes a tax on digital ad revenue. The Computer & Communications Industry Association, along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Internet Association, sued Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot (D). CCIA’s members include Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Google and Uber.

Google To Pay News Corp. For Some Content

News Corp. this morning announced what it described as a “historic” three-year deal with Google, ensuring it will receive “significant payments” from the search giant for its news sites’ content worldwide, including Australia. While terms of the deal were not disclosed, the announcement comes as Google faces a potential stalemate with Australia, which recently passed a new law requiring Google to negotiate fair payment for news it distributes from publishers Down Under.

QUARTERLY REPORT

Google Parent Alphabet’s 4Q Sales Surge

Google/YouTube parent Alphabet saw revenue jump last quarter driven by YouTube and search. Total sales surged to $56.9 billion for the last three months of 2020 from $46 billion the year before, smashing expectations. YouTube ad revenue jumped to $6.9 billion from $4.7 billion the year before and $5 billion last quarter. Google search and other advertising revenue was $31.9 billion, from $27.2 billion the year before.

Paper Sues Google, Facebook Over Online Ads

“There is no longer a competitive market in which newspapers can fairly compete for online advertising revenue,” the owner of The Charleston Gazette-Mail and other West Virginia news publications said in a lawsuit in federal court on Friday. It accuses the companies of profiting from “anticompetitive and monopolistic practices” that have damaged the newspaper business.

Google Threatens To Pull Search Engine In Australia

Google today threatened to make its search engine unavailable in Australia if the government goes ahead with plans to make tech giants pay for news content. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison quickly hit back, saying “we don’t respond to threats.” Above, Mel Silva (r), the managing director of Google Australia and New Zealand, appears via a video link during a Senate inquiry into a mandatory code of conduct proposed by the government at Parliament House in Canberra, Friday, Jan. 22. (Mick Tsikas/AAP Image via AP)

Google To Pause Political Ads Through Inauguration

Google will suspend political ads along with any reference to “impeachment, inauguration or protests at the U.S. Capitol” beginning Thursday. The ban will run through the day after President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on several platforms.

UPDATED SUNDAY 12:32 PM ET

Squelched By Twitter, Trump Seeks A New Outlet

Though deprived of his big online megaphones, Trump does have alternative options of much smaller reach, led by the far right-friendly Parler — even if Google and Apple both removed it from their app stores.

Google Must Face Claims It Overcharged For Pay-Per-Click Ads

 

A federal appellate court has revived a class-action complaint alleging that Google overcharged pay-per-click advertisers by reneging on a promise to discount some ads, and failing to limit ads by location.

How Google Is Hurting Local News

An audit reveals that Google News sends readers — and advertising dollars — away from local news outlets.

Google Employees Announce Creation Of Union

Google Rejects DOJ Antitrust Claims In Court Filing

Google is pushing back in court this week on antitrust claims brought against it by the Justice Department two months ago. In a legal filing with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Google denied or partially rejected almost 200 specific complaints against it. On only one count, that Google was a “founded […]

Google, Facebook Agreed To Team Up Against Possible Antitrust Action, Draft Lawsuit Says

Facebook and Google agreed to “cooperate and assist one another” if they ever faced an investigation into their pact to work together in online advertising, according to an unredacted version of a lawsuit filed by 10 states against Google last week.

Google Trial Judge Suggests 2023 Trial Date

The judge hearing the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust case against Alphabet Inc.’s Google suggested a trial date of Sept. 12, 2023, on Friday. U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta suggested the date during a status conference, and counsel for the two sides did not object. Mehta noted that the two sides appeared to expect that discovery would be completed in March 2022, with other pretrial matters not addressed until early 2023.

Google Hit With Another Antitrust Lawsuit

A bipartisan group of state attorneys general filed another antitrust lawsuit against Google on Thursday focused on its online search market power, adding to the growing legal battles facing the tech giant. The lawsuit — filed by 35 states and Washington, D.C., Guam and Puerto Rico — alleges Google illegally maintains monopoly power over search engines and search advertising markets through a series of anticompetitive contracts and conduct.

10 States Sue Google Over Ad Sales

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton announced the suit, which was filed in a federal court in Texas, saying Google is using its “monopolistic power” to control pricing of online advertisements, fixing the market in its favor and eliminating competition.

Google Invests $5.9M In Local News Diversity

Google has announced the recipients of the second round of the 2020 GNI Innovation Challenge for North America. The 33 projects tackle diversity, equity and inclusion in local news.

Google, YouTube To Let Users Opt Out Of Gambling And Alcohol Ads

 

The feature will begin in Ad Settings in the U.S. with YouTube Ads, then in Google Ads and YouTube globally in early 2021. Countries with legal restrictions against serving gambling and alcohol ads will not see any change in their policies.

Google Battles Marketers Over Antitrust Claims

Google has asked a judge to dismiss an antitrust lawsuit brought by a group of marketers that allege the company monopolized “online display advertising services.” “The whole is no greater than the sum of the parts, and the amalgam does not add up to a monopolization claim,” Google argues in papers filed Monday with U.S. District Court Judge Beth Labson Freeman in San Jose.

QUARTERLY REPORT

YouTube TV Subs Pass 3M; YouTube 3Q Ad Rev Up 32%, Google Up 9%

During its third quarter earnings call, Google and YouTube parent company Alphabet reported that YouTube TV subscribers had passed 3 million. That’s up from 2 million reported in February — despite a monthly price hike from $50 to $65 at the end of the third quarter, following its deal to carry legacy Viacom cable networks. The new number puts YouTube TV in second place among virtual vMVPDs, behind Hulu, with 3.4 million subscribers as of 2Q.

Judge Sets November Deadline For Google’s Initial Response To U.S. Antitrust Case

Judge Sets Nov. Deadlines For U.S. Antitrust Case Against Google

Alphabet’s Google must tell a district court how it will respond to a federal antitrust lawsuit by mid-November, with the two sides making initial disclosures later in the month, U.S. Judge Amit Mehta said in a brief order on Friday. The U.S. Justice Department sued Google on Oct. 20 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, accusing the $1 trillion company of illegally using its market muscle to hobble rivals in the biggest challenge to the power and influence of Big Tech in decades.

Social Media CEOs Get Earful On Bias, Warning Of New Limits

The CEOs of Twitter, Facebook and Google were scolded by Republicans at a Senate hearing Wednesday for alleged anti-conservative bias in the companies’ social media platforms and received a warning of coming restrictions from Congress. Lawmakers of both parties are assessing the companies’ tremendous power to disseminate speech and ideas, and are looking to challenge their long-enjoyed bedrock legal protections for online speech.

3 Social Media CEOs Face GOP Senators

The Senate Commerce Committee has summoned Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai to testify for a hearing Wednesday. The executives agreed to appear remotely after being threatened with subpoenas. With the presidential election looming, Republicans led by President Donald Trump have thrown a barrage of grievances at Big Tech’s social media platforms, which they accuse without evidence of deliberately suppressing conservative, religious and anti-abortion views. Above (l-r): Dorsey, Pichai and Zuckerberg.

Justice Files Landmark Antitrust Case Against Google

The lawsuit marks the government’s most significant attempt to protect competition since its groundbreaking case against Microsoft more than 20 years ago. It could be an opening salvo ahead of other major government antitrust actions, given ongoing investigations of major tech companies including Apple, Amazon and Facebook at both the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission.

Feds May Target Google Chrome For Breakup

Prosecutors for the Justice Department and state attorney general offices are discussing ways of curbing the search giant’s market power as they prepare to sue the company.

Groups Say New YouTube Kids Content Should Be Commercial Free

Google, Oracle In Copyright Clash At High Court

The case before the justices Wednesday has to do with Google’s creation of the Android operating system now used on the vast majority of smartphones worldwide. Google says that to create Android, which was released in 2007, it wrote millions of lines of new computer code. But it also used 11,330 lines of code and an organization that’s part of Oracle’s Java platform.

CEOs Of 3 Tech Giants To Testify

The Senate Commerce Committee voted last week to authorize subpoenas for (l-r) Twitter’s Jack Dorsey, Sundar Pichai of Google and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to force them to testify if they didn’t agree to do so voluntarily. Spokespeople for the companies said Monday that the CEOs will cooperate and appear at an Oct. 28 hearing.

Google To Pay News Publishers Over $1B

Google will pay publishers more than $1 billion over the next three years through a new program for licensing news. The tech giant has signed licensing deals with about 200 publications in select countries with plans to add more and expand geographically.