The Apple News NBC Universal ads deal spells trouble for Google

Google gets a slap

Google’s main business is ads. One of the main drivers of online traffic is news.

We all know this is true.

So that company’s bottom line feels it when eyes stray elsewhere online…

That’s why today’s announced deal between Apple and NBC Universal looks so interesting.

You see, under this deal, Apple News publishers will continue to be able to sell their own ads, but NBC Universal will sell the rest of their inventory.

The deal comes as Apple shuts down its iAds service and as Apple News traffic spikes. (Apple News now has 70 million users, up from 40 million this time last year).

Publishers benefit because they’ll get to keep 70 percent of the sales NBC Universal makes on their behalf and 100 percent of the cash they raise selling their own…

This isn’t such great news for Google, of course: after all, every page view that doesn’t go through one of its filters is one less fraction of a cent of revenue for the Internet’s great gatekeeper, though I’m sure the ad firm’s top brass welcome diversity online. Surely they do, given how much they claim to care about it in the smartphone industry.

The immediate impact of Google’s ads revenue loss to Apple News may be slight, but it is growing:

As 9to5Mac notes:

  • CNN Apple News readership reached 36.5 million in September, up from 5 million in August, for 274m page views
  • Bloomberg visits spiked 500 percent in October

One thing that you can’t ignore here is that Apple has quit the ads business because it turned out not to be part of its DNA – but has invited one of the world’s largest media conglomerates to fill the space left behind.

Google and NBC Universal cooperate in many ways, but you can’t ignore the more complex history between the two firms. Could this presage some more interesting competition between the ads services firm and the media giant?

Steve Jobs’ spirit will one day yet get to see payback time.



Jonny Evans

Watching Apple since 1999. I don't say what they should do. I say what they might do. They sometimes do.

2 Responses

  1. C. Howitt Fielz says:

    Nothing Apple does is going to hurt Alphabet/Google as far as Wall Street is concerned. All the big investors are dumping Apple and betting heavily on Alphabet as being the most valuable company on the planet. It’s plain to see Apple is getting much weaker while Google continues to gather strength in many areas. Tim Cook appears dazed and confused with skills far inferior to other major tech company CEOs. It only adds up as bad news for Apple shareholders.

    • Jonny Evans says:

      I think the Wall Street love in with Google is absolutely not to do with the value of Google’s real business, but to do with the value of its surveillance capital.

      Tim cook’s principled opposition to that is precisely why Apple will thrive in the medium term. As for ‘other tech CEO’s’, who do you mean? Some kind of sugared water salesman?

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