‘Stay ahead of regulations’: Publishers question Google’s motives in paying for news

Digiday 26 Jun 2020 04:02
unified pricing
June 26, 2020 by Lucinda Southern

Google has made an about face in offering to license news content from publishers, after saying in September last year it would not strike such deals in France. One way of understanding the reasoning behind the change is to look at the regulation profile of where it’s running the project (and with whom) — and where it’s not.

In a blog post Thursday, Google said it’s starting the initiative — paying publishers to display news — in three countries: Australia, Germany and Brazil — but hasn’t explained why those three in particular. Google is in talks with more publishers in about half a dozen other countries. 

Australia’s treasurer has ordered a mandatory code of conduct for tech platforms to pay for news after Google and Facebook rejected the initial annual bill of $600 million. Germany’s publishers and regulators have a long track record of being combative with U.S. tech platforms. And talk of Google paying publishers in France has been quiet for several months, suggesting negotiations are ongoing, hit a snag or too soon to reveal. Brazil seems like the outlier, according to sources, but in 2012 news publishers in Brazil boycotted Google News.

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