LONDON/NEW YORK: Facebook and Google, commonly known as the duopoly because of their current hold over the media landscape and digital advertising, could see the “pendulum” of power swing away from them, according to two top executives from Bloomberg.
Justin B. Smith, CEO of Bloomberg Media Group, and John Mickelthwait, the news organisation’s editor-in-chief, said in a joint interview with The Drum that the duopoly’s domination of global media is not guaranteed.
Speaking to The Drum’s Ian Burrell during a visit to London, Smith pointed to the scrutiny the two companies are coming under in Europe, and elsewhere, over concerns about content and brand safety.
“They are under massive scrutiny in Europe and growing scrutiny in the US, and all of that is fuelled by consumer scrutiny fundamentally,” he said. “The pendulum is swinging toward the possibility of change which we have not seen recently.”
Smith also suggested that nothing could be taken for granted when developments in the media are viewed over the longer term economic cycle.
“If you look at the top five most valuable companies in the world five years ago and 10 years ago, they are different than what they are today,” he said. “15 years ago I was working on digital media properties and I had the same [duopoly] attitude towards AOL and Yahoo.”
Micklethwait agreed that “there is no doubt that they [Facebook and Google] are much more encircled than they were before”.
Both executives explained that one of the positive aspects of the dominance of Facebook and Google was the way it forced companies, like Bloomberg, to innovate.
“Our guiding principle is that the only way you are going to grow is through innovation and the places you should innovate are around the areas where the platforms can’t compete with you,” said Smith.
For Bloomberg, a good example is its development of Tic Toc, a new 24/7 news network designed to be used on Twitter that offers five-minute global news summaries, live coverage of breaking stories and contextual video stories.
“Twitter, I would argue, is today the world’s biggest news platform. Twitter is much, much larger in terms of audience and engagement with news-seeking consumers than any other media platform,” Smith explained.
“So building hybrid products between a content and journalism based company and the social media platform that has the most news consumers in the world makes a lot of sense.”
Sourced from The Drum; additional content by WARC staff