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Executive Report - By Thomas Baekdal - April 2017

No Publishers, You Don't Own Advertising

We all know that advertising trends are disrupting the way that media can be monetized. We also know that two companies, Google and Facebook, are totally dominating all new digital advertising spend. And the result of this is a very negative outlook for publishers.

This is indeed a problem, and as a media analyst, I too am concerned about the future for so many wonderful old newspapers. I have friends who are journalists that have lost their jobs, and are now struggling to find new ones.

So, we all understand why the media is shouting at Google and Facebook. However, there is a fundamental problem with how the media thinks about advertising and its role in it.

Saying that advertising somehow belongs to old media, and that politicians should break the Facebook and Google 'duopoly', illustrates a complete lack of understanding about what advertising is.

Google, for instance, isn't actually selling the same type of advertising that publishers sell, and Facebook isn't actually a platform where people gather to read about all the negative events of the world.

The reality is that the main reason brands are moving their budgets away from newspapers is not because of Google or Facebook. It's because, when brands look at what channels fit their needs the most, newspaper articles are often a terrible choice to place an ad next to.

So, in this article, I'm going to help you understand what the real trend of advertising is all about, and why brands act the way they do. And the way I'm going to do that is by telling you this story from the perspective of brands.

At the end of this article, you will realize exactly why Google and Facebook are winning, but also why the media's fight with them doesn't make much sense. I will also highlight three paths forward, to show you why this trend does not mean the end for journalism. There are reasons to be hopeful, and excited.

"Advertising should go to newspapers because of the journalism"

For as long as I can remember, the media has hated the internet because it is disrupting everything. And also, for as long as I can remember, the media has been saying that the internet somehow stole what was theirs. In the past, we saw it when they talked about Craigslist and now we see it when they talk about Google and Facebook.

The latest example in this saga is in an article from the Press Gazette, which made some of the most ridiculous statements about why the UK government should legislate advertising back to traditional press.

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What is Baekdal?

Baekdal is a magazine for media professionals, focusing on media analysis, trends, patterns, strategy, journalistic focus, and newsroom optimization. Since 2010, it has helped publishers in more than 40 countries, including big and small publishers like Condé Nast, Bonnier, Schibsted, NRC, and others, as well as companies like Google and Microsoft.

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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


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