Google: No money for news, not guilty on content theft

Google CEO Eric Schmidt believes publishers of general news would find it hard to charge online because too much free content is available. Schmidt said he could, however, imagine niche providers of content such as business news succeeding in this area.

Schmidt was responding to Rupert Murdoch’s stated intent to start charging for news content online. "In general these models have not worked for general public consumption because there are enough free sources that the marginal value of paying is not justified based on the incremental value of quantity," said Scmidt.

He also defended Google against the charge it takes video content without giving anything back to its creators. "We’re beginning to invest a fair amount, as YouTube becomes profitable more and more of the money we have made will be piled back into content," Schmidt told the UK’s Royal Television Society. He predicts advertising models will sit alongside micropayments and subscription for monetising content.

Schmidt claimed Google paid between $5 and $6 billion back to content providers through its Adsense product. "Our goal is to make large amounts of money for our content partners and if you assume that the UK represents 15 per cent of that business then they have made around $500 million already."

Schmidt assured his audience Google was not going to emulate the likes of Bebo and MySpace by commissioning its own content: "The closer we get to that the more worried I get. We are a technology company."