Google 'Sucking the Blood' Out of Newspapers, Says WSJ Publisher

Les Hinton Blames Giant for Causing Content Companies Touble, but Has a Solution

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- It's been called a "parasite" and a "tech tapeworm in the intestines of the internet." And now, a "digital vampire." Google just can't get any love from the print folks -- at least the ones who reside at The Wall Street Journal.

Les Hinton
Les Hinton Credit: Scott Gries
On Tuesday, Wall Street Journal Publisher and Dow Jones CEO Les Hinton told an audience at PricewaterhouseCoopers Entertainment and Media Outlook that Google was "sucking the blood" out of the newspaper business. He also alluded to a solution that would level the playing field, according to Crain's New York Business, which covered the event. Jon Miller, chairman-CEO of News Corp.'s newly created Digital Media Group, is supposed to be spearheading that effort.

Mr. Hinton's words follow the colorful rhetoric of Journal Editor Robert Thomson, who earlier this year told The Australian in no uncertain terms that he was not a fan of Google and blames it for much of the troubles of content companies.

Both Messrs. Thomson and Hinton -- along with many other newspaper execs -- are upset that Google makes billions by organizing the web's content while most print publishers have yet to figure out how to make enough money online to support their operations. And the collapsing prices in the display ad market aren't helping that cause. The Journal execs are among several print publishers talking about how to create viable paid models for online content, something WSJ.com and Dow Jones' Factiva service has managed to do.

According to the Crain's New York Business piece, free content is part of the problem. It "gave Google's fangs a great place to bite," Mr. Hinton said. "We will never know what might have happened had newspapers taken a different approach."

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