Google to waive ad fees for news publishers as virus pounds industry

News publishers, especially the print media, have struggled as many advertisers pulled their marketing budgets to rein in costs.

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(Reuters) - Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google said on Friday it will waive for the next five months the small fee it charges news publishers to decide which ads to show on their online properties.

News publishers, especially the print media, have struggled as many advertisers pulled their marketing budgets to rein in costs because of economic uncertainty related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Jason Kint, chief executive of media industry trade association Digital Content Next, said that any move to help the news publishing industry is appreciated.

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“But we would be foolish to believe this changes any other well-founded concerns around Google’s dominance over the digital ad business,” Kint said.

Google Ad Manager, the service for which fees are being waived, is the most-used ad serving tool among news publishers, in part because of its low cost of pennies per every thousand ads shown to users. For smaller operations, it is free.

The larger expense for publishers are deals with Google and other technology partners that help them auction off ad slots.

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Google said it is still working on other ways to provide financial support to news organizations. (bit.ly/2RMAMH9)

In March, Facebook Inc (FB.O) pledged here $100 million in financing and advertising spending to support news organizations reeling from pressure due to the pandemic.