Google has confirmed it is pressing ahead with financial payments to news publishers, following years of pressure from regulatory authorities and industry players.
It comes after Google in June announced it was to pay publishers for ‘high quality’ news content in three countries (Australia, Brazil, and Germany), although it didn’t detail how much it would pay.
Now Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai used a blog post to announce an “initial $1 billion investment in partnerships with news publishers and the future of news.”
This pot of cash (£778m) will be used to pay publishers globally for their news over the next three years.
It comes after Google deflected demands from publishers for years to pay for distributing their content.
European (particularly German) media groups have been leading the fight.
But so have other countries.
In April this year Google was ordered by the French competition authority to pay French publishers and news agencies for re-using content or news.
Australia has also told Google to start paying for news content.
And now Pichai in a blog post outlined how the new deal will work going forward.
“I have always valued quality journalism and believed that a vibrant news industry is critical to a functioning democratic society,” wrote Pichai. He added that Google had already taken steps to support the news industry, such as sending 24 billion visits to news websites globally every month, coupled with the Google News Initiative’s $300 million commitment.
“But there is more to do. Today I’m proud to announce Google is building on our long-term support with an initial $1 billion investment in partnerships with news publishers and the future of news,” he wrote. “This financial commitment – our biggest to date – will pay publishers to create and curate high-quality content for a different kind of online news experience.”
This will be called Google News Showcase and it is a new product that will start rolling out in Germany and Brazil today and come to other countries over time.
Essentially, News Showcase is made up of story panels that will appear initially in Google News on Android. The product will launch soon on Google News on iOS, and will come to Google Discover and Search in the future.
Pichai said that Google had signed partnerships for News Showcase with nearly 200 leading publications across Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, the UK and Australia. T
These deals will grow as News Showcase is expanded to other countries including India, Belgium and the Netherlands.
“Both News Showcase and our financial investment – which will extend beyond the initial three years – are focused on contributing to the overall sustainability of our news partners around the world,” Pichai concluded.
German publisher the Spiegel Group welcomed the project.
“With News Showcase and the new integration of editorial content like from Spiegel, Google shows that they are serious about supporting quality journalism in Germany. We are happy to be part of it from the start,” Stefan Ottlitz, managing director of the Spiegel Group told Reuters.
News Corp, which has urged EU antitrust regulators to act against Google, was equally enthusiastic.
“We applaud Google’s recognition of a premium for premium journalism and the understanding that the editorial eco-system has been dysfunctional, verging on dystopian. There are complex negotiations ahead but the principle and the precedent are now established,” its CEO Robert Thomson reportedly said in a statement.