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Google News Showcase Won’t End Payments Row

SYDNEY: In a bid to fend off Australia’s watchdog, the ACCC and Scott Morrison’s media bargaining code, Google’s launch of its News Showcase on Friday is appearing to potentially be a step in the right direction and it has signed a number of media outlets for payment for news.

Google said it has inked deals with The Canberra Times, Crikey and The New Daily, while The Guardian has said it has held a discussion with Google.

Google also said it is willing to make News Showcase subject to the ACCC’s code, offering media companies to leverage how much they are paid.

However, the advent of News Showcase does not satisfy everyone including Nine and News Ltd, as well as the ABC and SBS. The Nine news group has refused to participate with Google.

“This is what monopolies do – they put an offer, in the form of Google Showcase, but not offer to negotiate,” a Nine spokesperson said. “It has to be all on their terms and that is not an approach we will participate in, we support the legislation the government is proposing as the best way to secure a fair payment for our content.”

Google appears to want the ACCC code to apply to payments negotiated for appearing in News Showcase – not payments for searches generally, according to an Australian news report.

A sticking point is that the deal doesn’t cover the millions, maybe billions, of searches that users perform to find out the latest news about their favourite topics when they perform a general Google search, says the newspaper.

Research by the US News Media Alliance in 2019 found that in 2018, Google made $US4.7 billion from news sites.

According to the Australian report Google says it doesn’t want to pay for “links or snippets”. The argument generally is that Google is doing the news organisations a favour by directing web traffic to those stories.

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