Google will start paying Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. for the use of its journalism in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, the latest sign of a changing dynamic between publishers and major tech companies.
The three-year, deal announced Wednesday follows a monthslong standoff between Google and Australia over the search giant's refusal to compensate the country's publishers, including News Corp., for use of their material.
A person familiar with the deal who was not authorized to speak publicly said it is worth tens of millions of dollars over the course of the contract.
The payments will enable Google to feature premium content from more than 30 News Corp. titles — from The Wall Street Journal in the U.S. to The Times in the U.K. and Sky News in Australia — in Google News Showcase, its dedicated news section.
Google has also struck multimillion-dollar deals with other Australian publishers, including Seven West, Nine Entertainment and Junkee Media.
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Facebook, which has also been locked in a battle with Australia, is expected to announce its own plans for resolving the dispute with News Corp. and other Australian publishers soon, a source familiar with that company's plans said.
Google's deals with Australian publishers, which come on the heels of similar deals with French publishers, indicate that the tech giant is finally willing to pay for news content to avoid regulation.
Whether that is a good thing for the news industry remains to be seen.
Robert Thomson, the chief executive of News Corp., said the deal would have “a positive impact on journalism around the globe as we have firmly established that there should be a premium for premium journalism."
However, some media watchdogs are concerned that these deals will only further entrench Google and Facebook’s power and make news publishers more beholden to them.
Don Harrison, the president of news partnerships at Google, noted that News Showcase now has partnerships with over 500 publications around the world and hopes to announce more partnerships soon.