Google And Facebook Explore Options Ahead Of News Media Bargaining Code

Palo Alto, California, USA - January 02, 2018: Google parking street/pavement sign. Title of a Google on a parking spots for Google employees in Silicon Valley.

Both Google and Facebook are both on the lookout for local content partners, according to reports, ahead of the introduction of the News Media Bargaining Code.

The AFR has reported that Google has been in contact with Nine, News Corp and Seven West Media in recent weeks, to gauge the interest of a potential deal.

The report also suggests Google and News Corp have held talks at an international and local level, as other regions – such as France – move to pass similar legislation.

While it remains unclear what such a content deal would entail, Google has previously announced plans for a News Showcase product, which will see the search engine giant pay around $US1 billion to international news publishers.

“Google News Showcase is a new product that will benefit both publishers and readers: It features the editorial curation of award-winning newsrooms to give readers more insight on the stories that matter, and in the process, helps publishers develop deeper relationships with their audiences,” said Google CEO Sundar Pichai about the product last month.

Google has said the News Showcase product will not be introduced in Australia until its concerns around the News Media Bargaining Code “can be resolved”.

In a statement, Google Australia and New Zealand managing director Mel Silva explained local media companies had expressed interested in the News Showcase option prior to the News Media Bargaining Code.

“Google has long-standing commercial relationships with many in the Australian news industry, and has supported the news industry in multiple ways for years. And with News Showcase, a licensing program and new product feature we introduced earlier this year, we’ve shown we are willing to pay more to license content, committing more than AU$1.3 billion to partnerships with news publishers over the next three years alone. More than 300 publishers globally have already signed on to News Showcase including in Germany, Brazil, the UK, Argentina, Canada and France where we’ve signed a range of major daily outlets like Le Monde, Le Figaro, and L’Express and our discussions with other publishers and APIG, the French publisher industry group, are moving forward,” Silva said.

“We know Australian publishers also see this model as an attractive option, because several were among the first in the world to sign agreements and we were in discussions with many more before the draft Code was published. These deals are commercial partnerships between publishers and platforms for the curation of high-quality news content and access behind paywalls.

“We anticipate building on this initial commitment in the years ahead, but we can’t do that without resolution of a workable Code. For that reason, as we’ve said, we have put the rollout of News Showcase in Australia on hold for now.

“In the meantime, we have continued to offer negotiations with Australian publishers in preparation for the launch of News Showcase under a workable Code.”

Facebook, meanwhile, is also believed to have held talks with News Corp in recent weeks, according to the AFR.

Facebook has been relatively quiet about the News Media Bargaining Code since it threatened to block all news in Australia should the code be made into legislation.

The News Media Bargaining Code is expected to be passed through parliament before the end of the year. Although a final version of the legislation has not been seen, it is expected both Facebook and Google will be forced to pay local media companies for news content under the new rules.

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