Monday, November 02, 2009

The Google Gap Widens

As traditional media owners issue hopeful noises about advertising recovering, few of them seem to be facing up to the reality that they've been hit by a double whammy. As well as the cutting back in ad spend during the recession, there's also the revenues they've lost to Google (although it should be added that Craig's List, Gumtree, Moneysupermarket et all have also put the knife in.

The Google Gap continues to widen as the new players taken ever bigger chunks of the market off incumbents. Between them, Google and the BBC have been responsible for decimating the local newspaper market in the UK. So much for 'do no evil' when you're a listed company.

As it finally gets focused on monetising its non-core text, search and display advertising, Google has turned its guns on the GPS market: in a stroke it has taken out the business model of a burgeoning industry; why spend $300 on a GPS unit (or $199 on an iPhone app) when it's free on your Android ? (I've just shelved my plans to upgrade the maps on my TomTom for $50, so I have to confess to being complicit, if only for the reason that I don't want to carry two devices around with me.)

In its recent deal with Channel 4 on YouTube, Google has shown rather more flexibility and contrition to incumbents in the TV sector, but that's exactly what it did in its early dealings with the mapping data companies.

Caveat emptor, TV industry...