Google agrees to pay ‘significant’ amounts to News Corp for news

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 18 February 2021

News Corp revealed a three-year deal with Google for “significant payments” to provide premium news from some of the world’s best known premium titles.

Commercial terms haven’t been revealed but the agreement is the result of a long campaign by News Corp founder Rupert Murdoch and his son and co-chair Lachlan and News Corp CEO Robert Thomson.

Thomson says the agreement will have “a positive impact on journalism around the globe as we have firmly established that there should be a premium for premium journalism".

The deal comes as the Australian parliament is about to pass a law requiring global digital platforms Google and Facebook to pay publishers for using their news.

In Australia, Seven West Media has announced a deal with Google, reported to be for $30 million a year, and Nine Entertainment is said to be close to an agreement.

The News Corp deal will be the biggest in terms of money. Google recently paid $US76 million to French publishers over a copyright dispute.

Among the News Corp publications joining Google News Showcase are Australian titles including The Australian and in the US The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, MarketWatch, and the New York Post, and in the UK, The Times and The Sunday Times, and The Sun.

The agreement also includes the development of a subscription platform, the sharing of ad revenue via Google's ad technology services, the cultivation of audio journalism and meaningful investments in innovative video journalism by YouTube.

“I would like to thank Sundar Pichai and his team at Google who have shown a thoughtful commitment to journalism that will resonate in every country," says Thomson.

"This has been a passionate cause for our company for well over a decade and I am gratified that the terms of trade are changing, not just for News Corp, but for every publisher.

“The deal simply would not have been possible without the fervent, unstinting support of Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch, and the News Corp Board.

"For many years, we were accused of tilting at tech windmills, but what was a solitary campaign, a quixotic quest, has become a movement, and both journalism and society will be enhanced.

“Particular thanks are certainly due to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Rod Sims and his able team, along with the Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who have stood firm for their country and for journalism.” 

News Corp Australasia executive chairman Michael Miller says this has always been about securing the future of journalism for the benefit of the people it serves and not about individual companies.

“Former Senator Nick Xenophon and Senator Stirling Griff were instrumental in having Australia adopt a world first, highly innovative policy approach," he says.

“Their work has charted a path that will benefit all journalism-based organisations in Australia.

"This is an important moment for our company, but an even more important moment for journalism and the people it serves, no matter how they consume news.”

Miller says this agreement will provide some confidence in an industry that has been buffeted by many challenges in recent years."

“The future of commercial news organisations rests on their ability to establish workable business models in the digital era,” he says.

“We will continue to invest in journalism and the skills needed to tell stories in new and evolving ways across our communities, and for a digital future.”

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