“An Inflection Point”: News Corp CEO On What The ACCC’s News Payment Code Means For Journalism

“An Inflection Point”: News Corp CEO On What The ACCC’s News Payment Code Means For Journalism

News Corp CEO Robert Thomson believes the ACCC’s recently announced mandatory bargaining code will spark a global revolution when it comes to regulating tech giants and media companies.

“It’s quite a moment of itself,” Thomson said about the ACCC’s recently announced code, which will see Google and Facebook forced to pay media companies like News Corp for their content.

“A real internet inflection point.”

Thomson was speaking as News Corp revealed its results for Q4, which saw revenue for the company drop 22 per cent drop to $US1.92 billion.

However, Thomson said that the recent change in terms of trade with digital platforms is “already having an appreciable impact on our earnings”.

“Essentially we are talking about carriage fees or retransmission payments for premium journalism and there are obviously more deals to come.

“Some of those deals will be outside of Australia, but I suspect in some ways, influenced by Australian regulatory thinking.

“I can assure you that not only regulators, but media companies around the world and the digital platforms are watching Australia closely.”

Thomson also commented on the ‘tech titans’ hearing in front of US Congress last week, which saw the leaders of Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon grilled on their market dominance.

“What you’re seeing – and this is crucial – is an increase in content consciousness among regulators around the world,” Thomson said.

“These are no longer mystifying issues, the issues have been clearly defined and you saw that in Congress last week and you see that in the ACCC report.”

For News Corp, last week’s announcement from the ACCC marked the end of a decade-long campaign to make the likes of Google and Facebook pay for news content.

Thomson said the pursuit of this outcome has been for the greater good.

“The News Corp board has supported this quest because it was absolutely crucial to the future of journalism. Newspapers, delivered in whatever format, are vital to a well-informed society.”

And while the outcome of the ACCC’s code has pleased News Corp, in Australia, Google has been quick to vocalise its disappointment.

In an interview with The Australian, a company spokesperson did not rule out Google removing its news offering in Australia altogether.

“It’s too early to say, but all options are on the table,” the spokesperson told the paper when asked about removing its news service.


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