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These two charts tell you everything you need to know about Google’s and Facebook’s domination of the ad business

Scary! (If you don’t work at Google or Facebook.)

A movie still from “King Kong” showing the ape holding a woman and rampaging across a city skyline Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Sometimes it takes a lot of work to describe the state of the media business.

Sometimes you can do it with a couple charts.

Here’s the latter version, courtesy of MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson, who spoke today at the Code Media conference.

These two charts neatly summarize what’s happened to the ad business: Google and Facebook are chewing all of it up — at the expense of the companies that used to have the business to themselves.

This first chart shows the growth of Facebook’s and Google’s ad business over the last four years (Twitter is there, too, but it’s not relevant for this discussion), compared with the big TV programmers.

The print guys aren’t in this chart, because Nathanson’s presentation is about the future of the TV guys, but even if they were, they would just be a series of negative bars.


And this chart shows the rapid ascent of the digital guys when it comes to share of the ad market.

You can see that the Facebook/Google duopoly ate the print guys’ lunch many years ago, and finally surpassed the TV guys last year. The good news for the TV guys is that their business has yet to collapse. Which is a pretty grim way to describe “good news.”


The rest of Nathanson’s report wonders just how bad the news for the TV guys will be: Are they looking at a total wipeout, or is there a way for them to retain some value, and even possible growth, in years to come?

You’ll be able to see more of this one in the near future. Stay tuned ...

Watch Nathanson’s entire presentation from Code Media below.

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