Saturday, July 31

Treasurer hails deals between publishers and Google as a “world first” for original journalism

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has called the negotiations between Google and Australia’s largest publishers a “world first” to reward original journalism.

In a surprise cap this afternoon, Mr. Frydenberg said that the agreements between the newsmakers and Google “will help keep journalism in the public interest in this country for years to come.”

Nine is the publisher of the Sydney Morning Herald and this website.

Frydenberg said he understood that a large number of publishers were currently in talks with Google. (Nine)

Frydenberg said he understood that other media companies, including Nine, were currently in talks to finalize a deal with the digital platform.

A Nine spokesperson said the discussions are ongoing.

“We continue to have constructive discussions with digital platforms and when we have something to announce, we will bring it up to ASX as appropriate,” said a Nine spokesperson.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison met with Google’s global CEO Sundar Pichai following the code proposal. (Getty / AP)

Two days ago Seven West Media struck a deal with Google worth $ 30 million to appear in the search engine’s “News Showcase” product.

The deal comes amid a tense battle between Australia’s biggest news publishers and multinational companies like Google and Facebook over the country’s proposed media bargaining code, which would make Google pay for original news content.

The Treasurer said he still intends to legislate the code.

Mel Silva, CEO of Google Australia at Google Pyrmont's Sydney offices.
Mel Silva, CEO of Google Australia at Google Pyrmont’s Sydney offices. (Kate Geraghty / The Sydney Morning Herald)

“The first objective is to achieve commercial agreements between the parties. That is a work in progress and it looks very promising,” said Frydenberg.

“The second objective has been to legislate the code. That is our intention in the coming days.

“Third, we have sought to keep the major players in Australia, as you know, Google had talked about leaving Australia. We never wanted that.”

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday, February 1, 2021, that Microsoft was confident that it could fill the gap if Google followed through on its threat to remove its search engine from Australia. (AP)

What is Google News Showcase?

Google News Showcase is a free mobile feature for users that aims to highlight original news and research for Australian users.

In some cases, it will allow Google users behind publishers’ paywall in Australia.

In an open letter earlier this month, Google’s director of news, web and publishing product partnerships, Kate Beddoe, explained how the News Showcase product will work.

An example of how Google News Showcase panels will be distributed. (Google)

“News Showcase contributes to a sustainable business model and helps deepen its relationships with readers,” explained Ms Beddoe.

“News Showcase panels show an enhanced view of an article or articles, giving participating publishers more ways to bring important news to readers and explain it in their own voice, along with more direct control of presentation and branding.

“Dashboards will appear in Google News on Android, iOS and the mobile web, and in Discover on iOS, bringing high-value traffic to a publisher’s site.”

News Showcase will pay publishers a flat monthly payment, depending on the deal negotiated between Google and the publisher.

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