News Corp inks deal with Google Showcase as Facebook shuts down Australian media content

News Corp says landmark worldwide deal will have a positive impact on journalism across the globe

Less than a week after the Australian Senate endorsed the News Media Bargaining Code, and on the same day as Facebook introduced blanket restrictions to all Australian media content across its platform, News Corporation has joined the growing ranks of Australian media companies signing licensing deals for Google’s freshly launched Showcase offering.

The ASX-listed media giant’s landmark three-year deal with Google announced today will see content from its global sites such as The New York Times, The Australian, The Times UK and more included in the Google News Showcase offering in return for licensing fees.

The deal also includes development of a subscription platform, sharing of ad revenue via Google's ad technology services, the cultivation of audio journalism and investments in innovative video journalism by YouTube.

In a statement, News Corp chief executive, Robert Thomson, said the deal would have “a positive impact on journalism around the globe as we have firmly established that there should be a premium for premium journalism”.

Thomson thanked Australia’s Government, Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chair, Rod Sims, for their work to implement payment and negotiation schemes for media organisations across Google and Facebook platforms and for “standing firm for their country and journalism”.

“I would like to thank Sundar Pichai and his team at Google who have shown a thoughtful commitment to journalism that will resonate in every country,” Thomson said. “This has been a passionate cause for our company for well over a decade and I am gratified that the terms of trade are changing, not just for News Corp, but for every publisher.

“The deal simply would not have been possible without the fervent, unstinting support of Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch, and the News Corp Board. For many years, we were accused of tilting at tech windmills, but what was a solitary campaign, a quixotic quest, has become a movement, and both journalism and society will be enhanced.”

Earlier this week, the Seven West Media as well as Junkee Media also confirmed they had signed up to Google News Showcase product. The platform launched in Australia last week as the search giant’s global solution to licensing and paying news media organisations for their content, and will appear across Google News on Android, iOS and the mobile web, and in Discover on iOS, and eventually, Google Search.  

SWM’s freshly struck agreement with Google will see its 21 titles available via Google’s Showcase offering and is subject to executing a long form agreement within the next 30 days. Junkee Media, meanwhile, said its letter of intent included funding to curate content for the Google News Showcase, which would allow the media company to create “more public interest journalism that speaks to and for young Australians”.  

In total, Google said nearly 50 Australian media titles have signed up for the Showcase offering, and 500 in total worldwide. Locally, the list includes The New Daily, Crikey, The Saturday Paper and The Newcastle Herald.

News of News Corp’s deal comes as Australian media organisations faced restrictions to their content appearing across Facebook’s platform.

The social media giant today announced as a direct consequence of the News Media Bargaining Code’s endorsement by the Australian Government last week, it would restrict Australian media content from appearing across its platform and news feeds of its international audiences.

The Code requires Google and Facebook to pay news media organisations for showing organic search links and excerpts of content from their websites. The pair would also be subject to mandatory arbitration if commercial deals cannot be reached. There are also provisions in the Bill around sharing algorithmic changes that potentially impact the way news media content is accessible and navigable through these platforms.  

Despite amendments along the way, the Code has been branded by Google and Facebook as “unworkable” in its current form, and saw Google threaten to remove its search services from Australia entirely should it be adopted. Back in August, Facebook also said it would consider removing news entirely from its service if the Code were to be adopted.  

And as of today, Facebook has actioned its threat to restrict Australian news content on its platform. The repercussions were widespread and saw not just Australian media sites but the likes of the Bureau of Metereology, government health services, retailers and not-for-profit organisations hit by the restrictions.

“The proposed law fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content,” Facebook A/NZ managing director, Will Easton, stated in a company blog post.

“It has left us facing a stark choice: Attempt to comply with a law that ignores the realities of this relationship or stop allowing news content on our services in Australia. With a heavy heart, we are choosing the latter.”

Read more about Facebook’s decision to restrict Australian media content from its platform here.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, or follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page.

 

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