How much is Google reaping from the news business?

A new study says the search giant generates $4.7 billion in revenue from news publishers, but Google disputes the numbers.

Oscar Gonzalez Former staff reporter
Oscar Gonzalez is a Texas native who covered video games, conspiracy theories, misinformation and cryptocurrency.
Expertise Video Games, Misinformation, Conspiracy Theories, Cryptocurrency, NFTs, Movies, TV, Economy, Stocks
Oscar Gonzalez
2 min read

Your search for the latest news on E3 or the Avengers is big business for  Google . But just how much remains a question. 

The News Media Alliance released its "Google Benefit from News Content" study Monday estimating the search giant generated $4.7 billion in revenue from news publishers' content in 2018.

Google uses a "significant volume of news content" to drive engagement with its products, according to the study, which lets the search giant capture user data and thus improves its services. Of the total amount, Google generated $700 million from Google News and $4 billion from news content in Google Search results, according to the study.

"The findings clearly point to Google responding to an increase in consumers searching for news, creating and tailoring products that keep users within its ecosystem," said David Chavern, News Media Alliance president and CEO, in a release Monday. "This means more money goes back to Google and not the publishers producing the content."

The News Media Alliance, an association that represents more than 2,000 news organizations, says this is a conservative estimate of the revenue Google makes from news content.

Google, however, says these "back-of-the-envelope calculations" are wrong.

"The study ignores the value Google provides," a spokesperson for the company said via email Monday. "Every month Google News and Google Search drives over 10 billion clicks to publishers' websites, which drive subscriptions and significant ad revenue. We've worked very hard to be a collaborative and supportive technology and advertising partner to news publishers worldwide."

In response to disputes over the numbers, the News Media Alliance sticks with the numbers found in the study. 

"We believe this to be an accurate representation, if not conservative, of the value of news on Google," Danielle Coffey, senior vice president of strategic initiatives and counsel for the News Media Alliance, said Monday. "We would welcome [Google] to correct it." 

Chavren says his organization called for legislation to negotiate better terms with Google and Facebook. In April, a bill called the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act was introduced to Congress that would do just that. 

Originally published June 10. 
Update, 3:20 p.m. PT: Adds additional quote.