A New York Times story published on Sunday contains an eye-opening allegation: Google “made $4.7 billion from the news industry in 2018,” according to a new report. The lede of the story quotes the figure again, with all of the zeroes, and mentions that this number is “more than the combined ticket sales of the last two Avengers movies,” and more than what most professional sports teams are worth (the writer of the story usually covers college sports, according to his Times bio). As it turns out, the report was published by the News Media Alliance, a media-industry lobby group formerly known as the Newspaper Association of America, and the figure quoted by the Times—without any critical assessment whatsoever—appears to be based almost entirely on questionable mathematical extrapolation from a comment made by a former Google executive more than a decade ago.
After quoting the head of the News Media Alliance, David Chavern, as saying newspapers deserve a cut of that $4.7 billion, and that the NMA believes this estimate is actually “conservative,” the Times story notes the number is based in part on a study done by a consulting firm called Keystone Strategy. That study relies on a public comment then–Google executive Marissa Mayer made at a media event in 2008, when she estimated that Google News brought in $100 million in revenue. The NMA report calculates what the same proportion of the company’s revenue would be today, then further inflates this figure based on the fact that news
Read more here: https://www.cjr.org/the_new_gatekeepers/nyt-google-media.php