Friend or foe? The media industry’s struggle with this question is its defining story. Here’s another beat in the ongoing drama, a Hollywood Reporter interview with Google’s VP of content partnerships, David Eun. It seems clear to me that Google is trying hard to position itself as a friend, a non-threatening friend, to the content industry.
The Hollywood Reporter: A company of Google’s size is going to invite controversy. Do you think the company is misunderstood?
David Eun: Yes, but not by everyone. I think there’s a lot of questions, but if you take a step back, we’re an 8-year-old company. So we’re still very young. Things move quickly for Google as well as the space that we’re in. So when you get into a space like content, and you come at it from a technology perspective, I think what we haven’t focused on as much — and this is something I’m trying to do — is really explain in (plain) English what it is we aspire to do and what frankly our objectives are. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your perspective, there’s a lot of noise out there about us trying to get into certain businesses or having designs to do X, Y and Z.
Eun is a key player in this. Prior to joining Google, he lived in the belly of the beast: Chief of Staff for the Media & Communications Group at Time Warner. His job is to explain Google’s intentions in the media/advertising space. He seems quite articulate and clearly experienced. But something he says here make no sense to me. He says:
THR: How much of the TV advertising business does Google aspire to take?
Eun: We paid out over $780 million last quarter alone to the Web sites we’ve asked to have relationships with. We do that not by going after the big advertisers. You’ve heard of the long tail of content — there’s a long tail of advertisers, too. There’s the successful entrepreneur who owns 20 different retail establishments who would love to find a way to advertise online, through newspapers and perhaps local TV, but they don’t know how or it’s just too difficult or it seems scary or inefficient. It will go as far as the people who want the inventory want it to go.
Excuse me? Google is NOT going after big advertisers? Now, that may be what the major content companies want to hear (their business model, in the main, is cutting multi-million dollar advertising deals with American Express, GM, Intel, etc), but man, it’s certainly not true. Perhaps the interview was edited poorly?