James Ashton: Cash-rich Google gets out its chequebook
Outlook James Murdoch was particularly irate when the BBC acquired the Lonely Planet travel guides a few years back.
Why should the Beeb be allowed to shovel its state-sponsored wealth into a for-profit venture that had precious little to do with its public service remit?
He had a point. BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the Beeb, has in the past had quite an elastic definition of where it should be operating and where it shouldn't.
It has been hugely successful in taking British formats such as Strictly Come Dancing around the world – projects that tip cash back into the BBC. But it has quietly hung onto Lonely Planet while selling off the Radio Times and various other bits and pieces its boss, John Smith, decided were non-core.
Now the BBC has a new competitor in the form of Google, which has just bought travel guide Frommer's. Publishers take note. There was a time when Google insisted it had no interest in creating content. A rescue takeover for Yellow Pages, whose local search business it was stealing, was poo-pooed.
Instead, Google's algorithms were there purely to organise what someone else had invested to create. But a backlash from those creators – such as when Google tried to capitalise on hotel and restaurant reviews from websites such as TripAdvisor – has forced the search giant to get out its chequebook.
Frommer's joins Zagat, the restaurant guide, in the Google fold. What more could follow? Google's cash pile increases as the valuation of many traditional media assets heads in the other direction.
I wonder what Mr Murdoch, ensconced in New York at News Corporation and not quite so vocal these days, thinks of it all?
- 1 'Not suppost to cry': 9-year-old lists the worst things about being a boy
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Anti-gay hate preacher accidentally tweets 4,000 followers cartoon clip of him 'confessing' to be a 'homosexual sodomite'
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Ryan Gosling granted temporary restraining order against a woman 'convinced she was his twin flame'
Jennifer Lawrence sings in new The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt 1 clip on YouTube
Mike Nichols dead: The Graduate director dies suddenly following cardiac arrest
Anti-gay hate preacher accidentally tweets 4,000 followers cartoon clip of him 'confessing' to be a 'homosexual sodomite'
Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Myleene Klass: Ed Miliband 'strikes back' by comparing UK's need for Labour's mansion tax to Hear'Say track
iJobs Money & Business
Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Age Concern Slough a...
Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Crossroads Care is s...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35,000: SThree: We consistently strive to be ...
£50000 - £90000 per annum + benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Markit EDM (CA...