SYDNEY (AUSTRALIA) – With the government pushing ahead with a law that would force internet giants GOogle and Facebook to pay media companies for content, Australia’s Seven West Media Ltd struck a licensing deal with Google.
At an earnings announcement on Monday, Seven, which owns a free-to-air television network and the main metro newspaper in the city of Perth, said it would supply content for Google’s News Showcase platform and has become the country’s first major news outlet to sign the deal.
The deal shows Seven splitting from rivals News Corp and Nine Entertainment Co Holdings Ltd which have failed to reach agreements with Google and instead backed laws, set to be passed this week, where the government sets the online giant’s content fees in the absence of a private deal.
So far in Australia, only specialist online publishers and one regional newspaper have struck deals to receive payment for their content appearing on the new Google platform which went live in the country this month. Outside Australia, Reuters is among news outlets with similar Google deals.
“The negotiations with Google recognise the value of quality and original journalism throughout the country and, in particular, in regional areas,” said Seven West Chairman Kerry Stokes in a statement.
Google’s Australia CEO Mel Silva said the US company was “proud to support original, trusted, and quality journalism” by featuring Seven on its platform.
Hours before Seven revealed its plans, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told the Australian Broadcasting Corp he still planned to introduce the laws, but added: “I think we’re very close to some significant commercial deals and, in doing so, that will transform the domestic media landscape”.
The way the law is worded, the government only imposes a negotiator to set fees if the media company and Google can’t come to an arrangement privately.
A Seven spokesman told media that the company is still supported the law.