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CNN Boss Jeff Zucker Calls on Regulators to Probe Google, Facebook

Jeff Zucker has called upon advertisers and tech firms to help find new way to monetize news content on mobile platforms, and on authorities to pay closer attention to the power wielded by Google and Facebook, as news providers try and adapt to the changing digital landscape.

“In a Google and Facebook world, monetization of digital and mobile continues to be more difficult than we would have expected or liked,” Zucker said, Monday, in a keynote address and discussion at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. “I think we need help from the advertising world and from the technology world to find new ways to monetize digital content, otherwise good journalism will go away.”

The CNN boss added that with regulators scrutinizing media mega-mergers, closer attention should be paid to the power of Google and Facebook.

“Everyone is looking at whether these combinations of AT&T and Time Warner or Fox and Disney pass government approval and muster, the fact is nobody for some reason is looking at these monopolies that are Google and Facebook,” Zucker said. “That’s where the government should be looking, and helping to make sure everyone else survives. I think that’s probably the biggest issue facing the growth of journalism in the years ahead.”

The average age of a CNN viewer is 59, dropping to 44 on digital platforms and 37 on mobile. Zucker said that CNN’s digital audience is growing and live news sat alongside live sports as being somewhat insulated from the effects of cord-cutting, and well-suited to digital platforms.

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The CNN boss and his news network have regularly found themselves in the crosshairs of president Donald Trump and his supporters, who accuse it of liberal bias and putting out fake news. Asked what he would call the upcoming TV adaptation of Michael Wolff’s explosive Trump book “Fire and Fury,” Zucker suggested “Crazy Town.”

His suggestion for the opening scene of the series was the night of Trump’s election win. “Nobody in the Trump campaign at that time believed for one minute that they were going to win,” he said. “I think both the excitement and fear that probably existed would have to be the most palpable scene.”

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