‘Blame Google’ campaign in Print community hits Indian shores

Print community in the US has been blaming Google for their downfall. Now this fever has hit the Indian shores.

Aroon Purie, chairman and editor-in-chief at The India Today Group, recently said they would not invest anymore in the digital space. I think they do see the importance of the internet, it is just that they will not invest anything ‘more’ in the digital space,

The digital model that is being followed in developed countries is a pretty dumb model. You have… one monopolist newsstand like Google who is giving your content out free and then competing in selling digital advertising. Where is the business model in this?

There are around 320 million mobile phones in India and we add 10 million every month. That for us is the future.

Flower man in Kodaikanal using a mobile

Flower man in Kodaikanal using a mobile.

Why is India Today blaming Google? Yes, mobile is big and will get way too big in India. The mobile penetration But I don’t think the mobile marketing revenue models have completely matured yet. And how does India Today plan to generate huge revenues from the mobile space? We all would love to hear and learn from them.

Can any reader think of reading a complete article on the mobile instead of the web? Doubtful. Mobile is perfect for some instant access to information. At least I cannot do hours of surfing/reading on the mobile.  I would never give up on any of my print subscriptions for the net/mobile.

In every country the media is a powerful lobby. Google was made to explain to the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet about this issue,

Google connects Internet users to journalists’ work while at the same time helping journalists generate income to support their work, and providing tools to make news more compelling to readers and viewers.

Most importantly from an economic perspective, once readers arrive at publication sites, our Google AdSense advertising platform helps publishers generate revenue from their content. By providing relevant ads and improving the connection between advertisers and our users, Google AdSense creates billions of dollars in annual revenue for publishers. In fact, in 2008, that figure exceeded $5 billion in revenue for AdSense publishers.

Newspaper execs have been advised to block Google from crawling/indexing their sites, but they say no, they want Google to index! It is just that newspapers don’t want Google to benefit financially (Forbes says Google earned $60m just from directing traffic to Forbes.com – they don’t like it)

Even before the ink of anti-Google campaign has dried, the anti-Kindle campaign is picking steam. The sooner the Print community embraces the net, the better for them. Blaming Google is pointless. Instead it is better for the media to reinvent itself.

My View

  • BOTH the internet and mobile are very important mediums for all media houses.
  • And these two mediums will not kill the newspaper in India, at least in the near future (we are still a developing country, not a developed country – especially when it comes to infrastructure)
  • Why shouldn’t Google turn back and ask all publishers for a revenue share generated from the traffic referred by Google?

I too complain a lot about Google – they just don’t give sufficient traffic to our language portals.

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