Google to pay for news in three countries

The company announced three licensing deals with publishers in Germany, Australia and Brazil on Thursday as part of a “new news experience” due to be launched later this year. It will focus on “high-quality content,” Brad Bender, Google’s VP Product Management for News said in a blog post.

“This program will help participating publishers monetize their content through 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,” Bender said.

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Google is talking to publishers in another handful of countries and expects to add to its list in the coming months. The publishers with the first deals include Australian companies Schwartz Media, The Conversation and Solstice Media; Brazil’s Diarios Associados and A Gazeta; and Germany’s Der Spiegel, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Die Zeit and Rheinische Post.

Bender also said Google will soon begin paying publishers to allow readers free access to certain articles normally locked behind a paywall.

“With local news under stress, finding new channels and new audiences for our premium content, in safe and curated environments, is a high priority,” Paul Hamra, managing director and publisher of two Australian papers owned by Solstice Media, said in a statement.

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Google has long tussled with publishers over how it displays their content, with media companies arguing the search giant should pay them for the privilege. The News Media Alliance, a consortium of US publishers, said in a 2019 study that Google made $4.7 billion off the news industry the previous year, a figure Google has disputed.

Last year, rather than comply with new European copyright laws that require payment to display snippets of news stories in search results, Google announced it would only display headlines.

In April, the French competition authority ruled that removing the snippet abuses Google’s market dominance and ordered the company to negotiate with French publishers. In Australia, Google has resisted calls for search and social media companies to pay publishers hundreds of millions of dollars a year for using their content.

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