News Corp, the Rupert Murdoch-led media empire that owns The Wall Street Journal, New York Post, The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun, has signed a new three-year global partnership agreement with Google.
The terms of the deal have not been disclosed but will see the search engine giant, part of the Alphabet holding, feature news articles from News Corp publications in a new product called Google News Showcase. In return for allowing Google users free access to content News Corp journalists have written, the company will receive “significant payments”, from the tech giant.
He partnership will go further, with the development of a subscription platform intended. Google will also share revenue with News Corp via its advertising technology service and the joint development of audio and video content. The News Corp announcement of the deal said YouTube, the video-streaming service also owned by Alphabet, is to make “meaningful investments”, in visual journalism.
News Corp chief executive Robert Thomson hailed his company’s deal with Google as one that he expects to have
“a positive impact on journalism around the globe as we have firmly established that there should be a premium for premium journalism”.
The development is a significant milestone towards shaping a future internet that balances the interests of the tech giants that have become the gatekeepers to the content their audiences see. Publishers have been critical of Google for a long time, accusing the company of abusing its near-monopoly position of the search engine market to exploit their content while offering no financial benefit, only ‘exposure’, in return.
The availability of ‘free’ news and other forms of content via tech and social media platforms such as Google and Facebook has seen revenues generated by traditional media drop in recent years. That’s sparked fears over the future of high-quality journalism. Thomson believes his company’s agreement with Google will prove to be a milestone in forging a new relationship between media companies and tech platforms that create holistic benefits “not just for News Corp, but for every publisher.”
“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.”
The new News Showcase product that will feature News Corp content launched in the UK earlier this month. It sits within Google News and allows publishers to choose content to display within article panels. Users who click on the panels are sent to the publisher’s own website to read the article.
Meanwhile, Facebook, another of the tech platform powerhouses at the centre of controversy around how its users access news, and how the veracity of that news is controlled, has taken a different approach to how it works with publishers. In Australia, a new law has been proposed that would oblige Facebook, Google and other technology platforms to pay publishers of content featured on their apps. Facebook’s response has been to announce it will start to block Australian publishers and users from sharing news entirely.