MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — In a publishing quadruple-whammo punch, Google today announced that it effectively had taken control of the major news corporations in the US not owned by either The New York Times or Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. — but including Tribune Co. and Sun-Times Media, Chicago; McClatchy, Seattle; Gannett in Maryland, Delaware, and Eastern Viriginia; to name a few. Over 35 companies in all sold their stock to the Google Cash Machine.
Not only did they manage to achieve this unbelievable goal in less than 36 hours of negotiations using their regular YouTube, Facebook and Twitter accounts, but they also managed to institute the final printed product as a “free paper” throughout the country. All 50 states, except for some rogueish hold-out precincts in New York, Boston and Anchorage. The papers will assume the logo and masthead of the über-parent, and will be spelled as “GüggleNeüZ” –so as not to ever be confused with their other division called plainly Google News. The new Logo will be added within 12 hours. Sooner with the online editions.
Google’s newly appointed editor-in-chief, Lachlan Murdoch, said from the GüggleNeüZ editorial offices in sunny Mountain View that he didn’t view Google’s new free news publishing company as hurting any industry. “I feel that it is a boon to consumers, made possible by the increasing power of Google’s advertisers. The fact that we don’t charge for our papers should be of no concern to the rest of the publishing business. They are free to charge what they want.”
He continued. “Obviously we like the price of free, because consumers like that as well. They are snapping up editions throughout the local test area. We see eventual publishing schedules as running throughout the day. Morning, afternoon and evening. Plus we feel that weekends will be much the same as weekdays. All the news, all the time. I hope no one has that catch line, as I want to use it. Could someone see to that?”
To up the muscle behind his statements, he offered, “With our GüggleNeüZ free papers that are soon to be out there and just as good as all the subscription newspapers, I don’t see much positive growth for the likes of The Grey Lady or anything that NewsCorp. can come up with and charge money for. Our customers have the best of all worlds, free news and free advertising.”
It was pointed out to Mr. Murdoch that many business analysts have said that a successful, Google free newspaper service could chip away at sales of all manner of subscription services offered by corporations and the internet alike. As sales growth for those types of companies is already slowing, Murdoch’s figures predict that shipments of free newspapers by Google will grow a full 19 percent this year from 2008. He wouldn’t say how much advertising money that increase would represent.
“This is a newspaper price war that will hurt the failing members of the industry’s profits,” said Mr. Murdoch. “I can’t understand how the old-style paper companies can’t see the writing on the wall. Maybe they just don’t like to read walls.”
“If it’s free and a good service,” he continued, “why would you pay for something you can get for free?”
Shares of the two largest news publishing companies plummeted today in insider trading after Google’s announcement. An unnamed New York company lost fully 18.5 percent of value on the Nasdaq, while the closely-held competition closed an astounding 26 percent lower on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, amid reports of the CEO selling off millions of shares.
Google’s announcement also reflects a shift toward consolidation in its other ad-supported world businesses. People are signing up for Google Maps by the thousands. Google recently bought and closed the parent company of the last oil company map maker, removing those free maps from the driving public. Now, people will be able to download larger maps for their traveling needs which will show pictures of hotels, motels and restaurants along the roadways, not just highway markers, rivers and hills. And with a flick of the iPhone, you can make reservations at any of them from your car.
“Who needs GPS devices, when maps linked to a wireless network will make reservations as you drive,” asked Murdoch rhetorically.