Content Aware weekly update: February 17th 2022

By: Rob Corbidge, 17 February 2022

Welcome to Content Aware, GPP's weekly update of what's new, interesting, or essential in the world of media. Feel free to pass it on, or send interesting morsels our way.

Unpicking the week in media, there is no let up in things which all point to the Big Tech giants, one way or another.

Facing off amongst themselves, or facing pressure from legislators and judiciaries, it's pretty much standard now for news about media to be dominated by the platforms that go to great lengths to say they are not publishers. 

Elsewhere, we've added some of the eye-catching things we've been reading this week, because they touched on subjects close to our hearts, or because they were just great things to read.

Google apes Apple; Facebook to feel the pain

Google will introduce new privacy restrictions to limit tracking across apps on Android smartphones, ahead of privacy legislation in numerous jurisdictions. This will no doubt knock Facebook who revealed Apple's app tracking opt-out had cost it $10bn in advertising revenue. The same effect in the Android could obviously be much much larger, given the global prevalence of Android phones against Apple's much smaller market share.

Europe's publishers team up

Ad dominance called out in formal complaint to the European Commission by EU publishers' body.

Big traffic, big bills

More calls for Big Tech to pay - this time for bandwidth.

Times' Witherow on media, monetisation, and Murdoch

Catch John Witherow, editor of The Times, in a rare interview with the BBC's Media Show on everything from Rupert Murdoch, cancel culture to the BBC's own place in the UK's media landscape.

Bitesize or bytesize?

We've all thought about how micropayment platforms could solve some revenue issues for publishers. This is an excellent and concise exploration of the topic.

Spreading the words

Some of us at GPP have had the pleasure of working with journalists from India in the course of our careers. If we said that India is a tough beat to cover, that would be rather underselling the fact. So we're delighted that is getting some traction in the West. If you care about a free press, watch it and celebrate the commitment and bravery.

Reports of Google's death are exaggerated - but make interesting reading

Anything entitled "Google Search Is Dying" is bound to attract our attention. This is a coherent and cogent argument and one that almost any one of us can confirm if we look a little more closely at our results. Google became a synonym word for "search" it's not impossible the word will outlive the company. (Oh, and there is an unofficial Reddit search engine: ).

FT passes 1m mark

Good news from the FT - we all know that people are more prepared to pay for information about money, however, it's still no small thing to hit one million digital subscribers.

Vale PJ O'Rourke

PJ O'Rourke died this week. He was a good journalist and an unapologetic American, and this is a nice tribute.

The Athletic founders speak up

You might have missed this interview with The Athletic co-founders following their deal to the NYT. A key thought from the duo, "don’t be afraid to charge your subscribers for the content you create".


The exact best structure of a URL is a constant source of debate in the SEO community. Here's some excellent background and insight from our go-to man Barry Adams.

WordPress holes not going away

Vulnerabilities on the rise again

Control shift

This is a fascinating piece of writing, a dispatch from another world:

"GA illegal"

French and Austrian judges agree. What next?