News Corporation, the multimedia giant controlled by tycoon Rupert Murdoch, has signed an agreement with Alphabet Inc, Google’s parent company, to disseminate and generate news and informative content through the latter’s virtual tools, in what represents one one of the largest agreements signed between a communication company and a large technology company. The pact puts an end to years of litigation over the free offer of content in the Google search engine, which undermines, in the opinion of News Corporation – and many other media publishing companies around the world – the profitability of their business.
Both companies will develop a subscription platform, share advertising and revenue through Google’s advertising services, and develop audio and video journalism formats for YouTube. The deal closes a succession of public disputes between Murdoch and Google, with its most recent episode in Australia, where Google threatens to shut down its search engine to avoid “economically unworkable” content laws. News Corporation declined on Wednesday to comment on the value of the transaction, stating only that it involves “significant payments” by Google.
For the 89-year-old media mogul, it represents the opportunity to strike first in a sector condemned to understand each other, setting the tone for possible future collaborations and even the possibility of offering premium content on different platforms. Murdoch, who was one of Donald Trump’s strongest defenders until he withdrew, at least publicly, his support, had already managed to secure payment from two other big tech companies, Apple and Facebook, for marketing the on-demand services Apple News. and Facebook News.
Murdoch’s emporium deal with Google comes after the tech giant agreed to pay $ 76 million over three years to a group of 121 French information publishers to end a copyright dispute that dragged on for more than one year, according to documents held by Reuters. Google is also working on reaching agreements with major media publishers in the UK, Germany, Brazil and Argentina.
The impact of the agreement between News Corporation and Google will depend on the market and local media ecosystems, experts consider. In North America, where publishing companies have lost the benefit of advertising in favor of technology platforms, the News Media Alliance publishers association, which groups some 2,000 newspapers from the US and Canada, plans to re-introduce a bill to Congress. that would allow publishers to bargain collectively with Facebook and Google without violating antitrust laws. It is precisely the violation of this legislation that has pilloried big technology, both in the US and in Europe. Google, in particular, faces several lawsuits for violating said regulations in the management of online advertising and in its search engine.
In Australia, where News Corporation owns most of the major newspapers, the two largest free-to-air television channels have closed deals with Google for a combined annual value of $ 47 million, days before the government submits to processing Legislation involving arbitration to establish Google’s content fees, provided that the parties do not reach an agreement in private.
Although the fight between the Australian government and technology is the most bitter, it perfectly sums up the state of affairs in other countries. The Australian government stepped up last year, introducing a media bill in Parliament that would require digital platforms to pay local media outlets and publishers to link their content in news or search results. In response, Google last month threatened to pull its search engine out of the country, where it has a 94.5% market share.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.