Just 25 media companies now control two thirds of the world’s near $700bn ad market according to new info from WPP’s GroupM and, of these, all are based in either California (apart from Comcast) or China.
Since 2016 Google’s ad revenue has doubled and Facebook’s tripled but the Chinese are growing (in relative terms) even faster with, MediaPost estimates, 12% of the global ad economy.
All of which is pretty alarming, not least for the likes of GroupM as it’s pretty clear that even the biggest media agencies no longer call the shots.
But it’s more alarming for the rest of us. One of the consequences of the growth of these behemoths hoovering up all the ads is that many other online publishers can no longer survive on such revenues so feel they need to change to a subscription model. Nobody can afford (or is willing to pay) for all the sources of online of online information they used to access so much global opinion is now shaped by a relatively small number of media outlets.
Even demanding that Facebook behaves more like a publisher – because it is one – is backfiring because it gives the Zuckerberg gang the licence to act as a censor. Facebook top PR honcho Nick Clegg is now, arguably, more powerful than the editor of the New York Times.
As for the Chinese, well make your own mind up.
Can anyone put the genie back in the bottle? They’d better get their skates on.