Monday, February 4, 2013

The Google deal

So Google managed to extricate itself from an akward situation in France by signing a protocol with the French government and the newspaper industry. It will cost 60 millions euros to the giant of MountainVview plus an exchange of Internet technology with the print media.

Is it a good agreement? Probably yes. Will it solve the basic problems that the print industry faces as the digital news get more and more intrusive? Probably no;

The press managed for once to speak with one voice and benefited from the support of the Hollande administration. The fund will help to finance some improvements in the digital offer and the use of the Google platforms can be useful. However, Google partnership will not be enough to make for the lack of strategic vision of the dailies and weeklies which were involved in the deal.

The newspapers don't need the advice of Google to improve their offer on both the print and the Web. And yet, this improvement is the only way to keep the favour of a public which is slowly pulling out. Another big challenge is the growing use of mobile supports, smartphones and tablets. What kind of news, what ads can be provided through these very popular systems?  There again Google doesn't provide the answer.

And last but not least, the new protocol does not include the leisure and people magazines. In France they command a powerful lobby led by Lagardere. They will most likely push their case and embarass the government.

Lest wait for the next step.