Google has announced that it will pay news publishers more than USD 1 billion over the next three years as part of its long-term support for high-quality journalism and sustain the struggling industry. The search giant has already signed licensing deals with 200 publications in Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, the U.K. and Australia.
The Mountain View-based company also unveiled Google News Showcase, a differentiated “online news experience” that leverages on swipeable cards called “story panels”. Publishers are said to be given the ability to curate and decide for themselves how to best present their content on this new platform.
This includes the use of timelines, bullets, related articles and the ability to tease stories to encourage viewers to click on their site to read more. CNN reported that Google is also reported willing to pay some publishers to make their paywalled articles free to access for non-subscribers.
Google said the platform would also allow publishers to include video and audio content next to their regular articles on the platform.
News Showcase is said to be available to users in Brazil and Germany first. At launch, it will only be available on the Google News app on Android though there are plans to bring it to iOS. The feature will also be expanded to the Google Discover app and Google Search.
Google’s chief executive officer Sundar Pichai said in a blog post that Google is focused on the sustainability of its news partners around the world. “We want to play our part by helping journalism in the 21st century not just survive, but thrive,” he said.
However, the issue of paying publishers to display their content has been a source of tension between traditional news companies and tech platforms like Google and Facebook. A large share of advertising money that once went to publishers in the news industry has gone to Google and Facebook. Shrinking advertising revenue has resulted in smaller newsrooms and severely diminished their ability to tell local stories.
We previously reported that Australia is expected to be the first country in the world to force Google and Facebook to pay for news to address imbalance between news media businesses and digital platforms under a new ruling. The draft legislation will empower news publications to seek for fair negotiation from Google and Facebook for using their news content.
Australia’s News Media Bargaining Code law was proposed after an inquiry in 2019 found that tech giants like Facebook and Google took too much of the share from online advertising revenue. For every USD100 spent in online advertising, USD47 went to Google, USD24 to Facebook and USD29 to the rest.
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is reported to have lobbied hard for the Australian government to force the two US tech giants to the negotiating table.