Media companies have long griped about the Alphabet unit’s dominance of the digital advertising market, but few are as outspoken – or as influential – as Murdoch’s News Corp.
The company, which publishes the Wall Street Journal and the Times of London, among other papers, has complained to regulators around the world that Google is abusing its power in the $330 billion digital ad market and siphoning revenue that should be going to media companies.
The campaign has had its share of victories. The European Union has levied billions of dollars in fines against Google and Australia has moved to force the company to pay for news. But action in the US, Google’s biggest market, has been elusive since enforcers closed an antitrust investigation seven years ago.
That’s about to change: The justice department, led by attorney general William Barr, is preparing to file an antitrust lawsuit against the company, according to a person familiar with the matter. News Corp representatives have met privately with the justice department about the investigation.
Last week, a trade group for news organisations that is chaired by a senior News Corp executive published a research paper outlining how Google has leveraged its dominance to take publishers’ content and drive traffic without compensating them under copyright laws. The trade group, the News Media Alliance, sent the report to the justice department.