Google agrees to pay news publishers over $ 1 billion


The tech giant has signed licensing agreements with around 200 publications in some countries with the intention of adding more and expanding geographically.

Google, along with Facebook, controls a large chunk of the advertising dollars that once went to news publishers. Declining ad revenue has led to smaller newsrooms and less resources for telling local stories. The billions of dollars spent on news licenses is how Google shows publishers that it is committed to paying for high-quality journalism and supporting a struggling industry.

The licensing agreements, previously announced in June, are part of a new product called News Showcase, where participating publishers can organize and decide for themselves how to present their content on the platform. Content is displayed in the form of a “story panel” and editors can use timelines, bullet points, or related articles to tease the story and encourage viewers to click through to their site for more. Google will pay some publishers to make paywalled articles free access to non-subscribers.

Starting Thursday, Google users in Brazil and Germany can access this feature. At launch, News Showcase will only be available in the Google News app on Android. But it will be coming to the iOS app soon and then expanding to the Google Discover app and Google Search.

“It’s clear that the newspaper industry has long faced economic challenges,” Brad Bender, Google’s vice president of product management for news, told CNN Business. “I think many of us in the ecosystem want to scale up and enable a better future for information. This is a very big investment, our biggest investment today, but it really builds on our 20 years of working with the industry.Paying publishers to display their content has long been a source of tension between media companies and technology platforms. Facebook entered into licensing deals with news outlets such as the New York Times and Dow Jones last year when it launched Facebook News.

Google has been in dispute with Australian regulators over legislation that would allow publishers to negotiate compensation for their content. In fact, Australia was one of the first countries where Google started signing licensing agreements with publishers, but the company has since suspended the program there.

“While our concerns about the code are serious, we believe they can be resolved and hope to bring News Showcase to Australia soon, as we believe the program will help publishers grow their audiences and contribute to the overall sustainability of our business. Australian press partners ”. Mel Silva, chief executive of Google Australia and New Zealand, said in a statement.

For News Showcase, Google has signed agreements with publications in Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, United Kingdom and Australia. Participating publishers include the German magazine Der Spiegel, the Brazilian daily Folha de S. Paulo and the Canadian media company Village Media.

Google declined to say when it will launch with US publishers.

The payment each publisher receives varies depending on what they provide and how much, Bender told CNN Business. Going forward, Google will allow publishers to include video and audio, not just images and text, in News Showcase.

Bender said Google’s new product is called News Showcase because publishers “will showcase their journalism and their take on what matters.”

“Depending on the story and how they want to tell it, participating editors can choose the best model to present the best of their journalism and tell stories the way they want,” said Bender. “This additional context for users not only helps users better understand the story, but also helps them learn about the editorial voice and publisher priorities. ”

Bender said Google plans to go beyond the three-year commitment and therefore invest more than the $ 1 billion planned.

Hadas Gold and Michelle Toh contributed to this report.


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