- Google has announced a licensing program paying news publishers for the use of their content on Google platforms.
- Currently, only a select group from Australia, Germany and Brazil are believed to have signed deals, with Google promising more to come.
- The company has faced growing pressure from global antitrust regulators to share revenues with the publishers whose news content appears on their platforms.
Yesterday, Google announced a licensing program with a select number of Australian, Brazilian and German news publishers that will pay them for distributing “high-quality” content on Google. The company also stated that the deals were only the first of their kind, with more to come from around the world. Google declined to go into further specifics, including the financial terms of the program itself.
The content forms part of a “new news experience” that will launch on Google News and Discover first later this year. Further goals laid out in Google’s blog post include creating “an enhanced storytelling experience that lets people go deeper into more complex stories, stay informed and be exposed to a world of different issues and interests”. Google will also purchase free access to paywalled articles, where available, allowing those publishers to expand their audiences.
Brad Bender, Google’s Vice President of Product for News, described the program as part of Google’s commitment “to help journalism thrive in the digital age.” Beneficiaries, according to the Financial Times, include Australia’s Schwartz Media and Germany’s Der Spiegel.
Previously, Google has come under pressure for its stance against paying publishers for news, other than through its advertising initiatives. In late May, Google Australia’s MD and VP, Mel Silver, dismissed news-related revenues generated from the Australian market as “very small”. Nevertheless, global antitrust regulators have stepped up legal procedures to see publishers paid by platforms for reusing their content. Australia’s recent plans to enforce this drew the above commentary from Silver, while in April, France’s antitrust agency ordered Google to pay for hosting third-party news.
Although the new program appears to be a capitulation, Google remains free to choose what it purchases and the finer details are unknown for now.