Google’s licensing program to pay publishers is still not enough

Illustration of article titled Google Licensing Program to Pay Publishers Won't Solve Your News Problem

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In the face of increasingly vocal criticism of who he is one of the main reasons for newsrooms are struggling, Google today announced a new licensing program that will pay certain publishers for content before launching a “new news experience” later this year.

in a BlogBrad Bender, vice president of news products for Google, writes that the program will help publishers “monetize their content” through a loosely described “enhanced storytelling experience.” For starters, Bender says Google has already signed deals with local and national publishers in Germany, Australia and Brazil. Some of the participating media groups include the Spiegel Group, which publishes one of the largest news sites in Germany. Der Spiegel, Associated Journals of Brazil, and according to Financial times, Schwartz Media from Australia. Bender also writes that Google is in ongoing conversations with “many more partners” in the coming months.

It seems that Google is looking to create a kind of Apple News-like experience within its Google News and Discover platforms, though it’s too early to say exactly what the end product will look like. Details about the experience, as well as how much Google will pay participating publishers, were sparse. That said, the Financial Times reports that readers will be able to get around the pay walls under the deal, and quoted Bender as saying the licensing program would go “beyond” Google’s $ 300 million investment in its Google News initiative.

Sounds good, but don’t go pat Google on the back yet. These types of license deals are not a panacea for a dying news industry squeezed by greedy tech giants advertising revenue grabbing and private capital ghouls. For starters, these programs only help true publishers: in this case, any publishers Google you decide constitutes “high quality content”. Take Facebook own licensing program, which was launched last October. That attempt was criticized for saying that you would only use “trusted news sources” for your Facebook News tab and would include Breitbart. Another criticism is that the fees that tech giants have agreed to pay publishers simply aren’t enough to make up for years of damage.

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Nor is it comforting that Google recently decided alter how news articles appear in French search results to avoid having to pay publishers for displaying snippets of content. Instead, Google said it would only show headlines in France. At the time, publishers hoped that a new European Union copyright directive would put more money in their coffers, as it allows the press to request payments from platforms like Google and Facebook to display their content online.

“We do not accept payments from anyone to be included in search results. We sell ads, not search results, and every ad on Google is clearly marked, “wrote Richard Gingras, vice president of news for Google, in a Blog. “That’s also why we don’t pay publishers when people click on their links in a search result.”

This is ridiculous if you consider that the same blog says that Google Search and News helps publishers by sending “large amounts of traffic to publishers.” This does not explain the fact that Google periodically changes its search algorithm, but does not reveal the details of the changes made, leaving media companies wondering whether each update will accumulate overnight traffic, such as a recent update in November 2019 did for Many sites. Or the fact that Google (and Facebook) take a cut when digital media place ads on sites, and then take another cut from advertisers who use Google’s (and Facebook’s) ad technology to place the same ads. The end result is that Google and Facebook take home approximately 60-70% of every dollar spent in digital advertising that is supposed to help newsrooms keep the lights on, all while painting yourself as a service that really helps editors. And, even if publishers wanted to go somewhere else, they really couldn’t. A news media alliance report He says that Google represents 90% of searches and almost 70% of the online ad technology market.

Still, paying publishers is one step in a better direction. That said, it should not be left to the arbitrary “generosity” of a technology giant seeking to download a bad press for intervening in strangulation journalism. In April, the Australian government said it aims to force Google and Facebook to share advertising revenue with Australian newspaper publishers, a move both companies were upset with. In the past, also has brought out Google News Spain after facing copyright fees and earlier this year, it was organized by the French authorities to start paying publishers.

Google is quick to remind everyone that it created a Journalism Emergency Aid Fundgave up ad serving fee on Google Ad Manager, and raised $ 15 million in a Support the local news campaign To ease the financial blow, newsrooms were dealt with due to the global pandemic. But the hundreds of millions of Google says it’s dedicated to helping newsrooms is still a drop in the bucket when you consider that Google raised roughly $ 135 billion in advertising revenue only in 2019

If these measurements were remote enough, perhaps News Media Alliance I wouldn’t have felt the need to send a White paper titled “How Google Abuses Its Position as a Dominant Market Platform for Strong News Publishers and Hurt Journalism” last week to the Justice Department, asking for an investigation in their anti-competitive behavior.