Tech giants’ new content deals

March 19, 2021

Two of the largest media companies in the country, News Corp Australia and Nine News have inked multi-million dollar content deals with Facebook following the introduction earlier this month of the Government’s news media bargaining code. Negotiations were slow paced, with only Seven West Media and a few smaller publishers having signed letters of intent with Facebook for payment of news shared on the platform earlier this month.

The bargaining code, enacted as part of the Federal Competition and Consumer Act, is designed to ensure payment to news publishers for the use of their content, from which the tech giants Facebook and Google have been profiting, news publishers argue.

The Facebook deals follow last month’s controversial Facebook news ban when, in response to the imminent introduction of the code, news disappeared from Australian Facebook users’ feeds – without warning, and for an entire week (affecting some non-news pages as well).

Google, who reportedly experimented with removing news from its search platform, has also done deals with News, Nine and smaller publishers Solstice Media and Private Media.

These deals mean that Google and Facebook are less likely to be designated under the bargaining code as it will have done its work. If they were designated by the government the obligations of the code would apply.

This legislation has attracted attention on a global scale, with the USA, Canada and Europe now considering whether their own laws should be changed to remunerate publishers for news content shared on Facebook, Google and other digital platforms.

In Australia, the code and the resulting deals with Google and Facebook mark a leap forward for media companies and journalism as it will see additional money flow to news organisations for use of their valuable journalism by big tech companies. 

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