Major Australian media company closes Google News Pay deal

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – Seven West Media is Australia’s largest news media company, which in a partnership announced Monday with Google, signed a pay for journalism deal before parliament debates draft laws to get digital news pay giants to force.

Google and the listed television, print and online publisher have jointly announced that, following the weekend discussions between Australian ministers and media managers, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet Inc., they are looking for a “long-term partnership” had agreed. and its subsidiary Google.

Kerry Stokes, Chairman of Seven West Media, which owns 21 publications, thanked the Australian Government and the Australian Competition Authority for their suggestion.

“Your outstanding leadership in implementing the proposed news media negotiating code has enabled us to negotiate that will result in fair pay and secure our digital future,” said Stokes in a statement.

“The negotiations with Google recognize the value of quality and original journalism across the country, and especially in regional areas,” added Stokes.

The deal was made under Google’s own News Showcase model. Since launching News Showcase in October, Google has closed pay deals with more than 450 publications worldwide.

Google announced two weeks ago that it has started paying seven much smaller Australian websites under News Showcase.

Mel Silva, Regional Director of Google, said, “We pride ourselves on supporting original, trustworthy and quality journalism and we are excited to welcome Seven West Media to Google News Showcase as a major Australian publishing partner today.”

The partnership is a significant investment in journalism for Google, not only in metropolitan areas, but also in smaller communities.

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Neither Google nor Seven West Media mentioned how much the deal was worth. Competing media company Nine Entertainment reported, citing unnamed industry sources, that it was worth more than A $ 30 million ($ 23 million) a year.

Prior to the announcement, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said Google and Facebook were about to close commercial deals “that could be of great benefit to the domestic media landscape and see journalists being financially rewarded for creating original content, as it should be. “

Google and Facebook did not immediately respond to requests for comments on Frydenberg’s discussions with their executives.

Google has stepped up its campaign against the proposed bill, telling the Senate committee that the platform would likely make its search engine unavailable in Australia if the code were introduced.

Facebook has threatened to prevent Australians from sharing news if the platform were forced to pay for news.

While the digital giants can afford the likely cost of paying for the Australian news they refer to, they are concerned about the international precedent Australia might set.

Google has been pressured by other authorities to pay for news. Last month, a contract was signed with a group of French publishers that paved the way for the company to make payments with digital copyright. As part of the agreement, Google will negotiate individual license agreements with newspapers. Payments are based on factors such as the daily published amount and monthly internet site traffic.

In Australia, platforms can enter into payment agreements with media companies before the code is required by law.

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Legislation would set up an arbitration board to make binding decisions about payment when a platform and news company cannot agree on a price for news.

The panel would typically accept either the platform’s or the publisher’s best offer, rarely setting a price in between.

This should deter both the platforms and the news business from making unrealistic demands.

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