News Corp CEO: YouTube Is a Toxic Waste Dump

Jeremy Barr | December 07, 2017

News Corp CEO Robert Thomson is on record as a critic of the big tech platforms, which he's said have sucked money away from journalism companies like his.

During an onstage interview at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference, Thomson ratcheted up that rhetoric during an industry conference on Tuesday afternoon, when he described YouTube as "a toxic waste dump."

Thomson discussed a recent meeting with Facebook brass, including Mark Zuckerberg. The conclusion of the meeting, he said, was that there needs to be a "re-alignment" in the relationship between content-producing companies like News Corp and platforms like Facebook.

"We spent a day and an evening talking through the issues," Thomson said of the Facebook pow-wow.  "And I think there was a recognition at the end of it, for the relationship to be a fruitful one, particularly for subscriptions, something needs to happen."

Thomson was also asked about major media M&A deals either under review or in the works. Disney is reportedly discussing a deal with News Corp sibling company 21st Century Fox.

The Department of Justice recently sued to block AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner, a development that shocked the media industry and seemingly surprised/irked Thomson. "I won’t talk about a specific country, because I don’t want to impugn this or that government," Thomson said. "But a lot of the media laws range from being outdated to outrageous."

These media acquisition and ownership laws, he said, "were clearly crafted long before the age of Facebook and Google," two companies that dominate the digital advertising world. (News Corp has announced a new digital advertising platform intended to compete with these two companies.)

But, Thomson said, "redundant laws are being confronted" and "the large digital players" are under more scrutiny.

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About the author: Jeremy Barr Contributor