News publishers fight tech giants for better deals

BBC Technology 21 Aug 2020 04:37
New York Times appImage copyright Reuters

Technology giants are facing calls from news publishers for a better share of revenues from Australia to America.

US news outlets, including the New York Times, have asked Apple to reduce the cut it takes when subscriptions are taken out on its app store.

Earlier this week Google clashed with an Australian watchdog that wants it to pay more for the news content it uses.

As online firms like Apple and Google have grown, many news providers are struggling to survive.

Digital Content Next (DCN) - a trade body which represents the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal - wrote to Apple chief executive Tim Cook on Thursday.

The major US publishers are asking for better terms when people take out subscriptions to their news platforms via Apple’s app store.

However, DCN points out that Amazon enjoys a reduced rate from Apple as it meets certain conditions.

Apple is also involved in a dispute with Epic Games, the makers of the popular Fortnite video game over revenue it earns from its app store.

Google under pressure

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has published draft legislation which called on internet firms such as Facebook and Google to pay for the content they repost.

This relates to a recommendation from the ACCC that Google shares more data with publishers about its users, and alerts them when it changes its algorithms.

Paying for content

“Low quality ‘headline’ news will probably always be free, but added value journalism has a significant cost and if that cost cannot be monetised, it will be devalued or it will disappear,” warned Michael Wade, a professor at the IMD Business School in Switzerland and Singapore.

Google says it is currently working on a global licensing programme to pay publishers for high-quality content that it hopes to roll out later this year.

“The very content creators that have done so much for Google are in danger of extinction if Google doesn’t do a better job of sharing the gains from its technology with the actual content creators,” added financial technology entrepreneur Dr. Richard Smith.

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