Google announces new licensing programme to help news industry

 As traditional media outlets urge social media giants to give their dues for using their news content especially during the difficult Covid-19 times, Google on Thursday announcing a new licensing programme to pay publishers for high-quality content.

To be launched later this year, the programme will help participating publishers monetize their content through an enhanced storytelling experience that lets people go deeper into more complex stories, stay informed and be exposed to a world of different issues and interests.

“We will start with publishers in a number of countries around the globe, with more to come soon,” Brad Bender, VP Product Management, News, said in a statement.

To begin with, Google has signed partnerships with local and national publications in Germany, Australia and Brazil.

In Australia, public broadcasters ABC and SBS earlier sought direct payments from Google and Facebook for using their content under the upcoming mandatory code of conduct for online platforms.

Following suggestions that online platforms should be forced to pay publishers in Australia AU$600 million or more every year, Google said earlier this month that the direct economic value it gets from News content in Search is “very small”.

With the new licensing programme, where available, Google will also offer to pay for free access for users to read paywalled articles on a publisher’s site.

This will let paywalled publishers grow their audiences and open an opportunity for people to read content they might not ordinarily see, said the tech giant.

Google’s publisher partners said this is a positive shift.

“This interesting new partnership with Google will allow us to curate an experience that will bring our award-winning editorial voice into play, broaden our outreach and provide trusted news in a compelling way across Google products,” said Stefan Ottlitz, managing director of Germany’s SPIEGEL Group.

To date, The Google News Initiative (GNI) has provided funding to more than 5,300 local publications globally via a Journalism Emergency Relief Fund, an ad-serving fee waiver on Google Ad Manager and a $15 million Support Local News Campaign to help alleviate some immediate economic constraints.

“Over the years, we’ve built audiences and driven economic value for publishers by sending people to news sites over 24 billion times a month, giving publishers the opportunity to offer ads or subscriptions and increase the audience for their content,” informed Bender.