ACCC Green Lights Collective Bargaining For Regional Newspapers Striking Deals With Facebook And Google

Some newspaper, stacked on bokeh background

Country Press Australia (CPA) members will soon be able to negotiate payments with Facebook and Google, after the ACCC proposed to authorise collective bargaining agreements.

Publishers such as Nine, Seven and News Corp have all been able to negotiate deals with Facebook and Google – believed to be worth tens of millions a year – following the introduction of the News Media Bargaining Code earlier this year.

However, smaller publishers looked to join forces and make collective bargaining deals.

The CPA represents 81 news publishers who publish 160 regional newspapers across Australia, who will soon be able to engage in discussions and exchange information with each other about those negotiations, following the ACCC’s latest ruling.

“Allowing the publishers of 160 newspapers to collectively negotiate with Google and Facebook should help address some of the considerable bargaining power imbalance that exists between the digital giants and these local news outlets,” ACCC Chair Rod Sims said.

“This measure should lead to more efficient and effective negotiations, making commercial deals more likely and thereby contributing to the sustainability of news in regional Australia.”

The proposed authorisation is for a period of 10 years.

Without the ACCC’s authorisation, there was the risk these publishers could breach competition laws, as no digital platforms have yet been ‘designated’ under the code, the ACCC said.

The ACCC gave the CPA interim authorisation to share information about their negotiations earlier this year.

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