Google to pay news publishers for some content

A new scheme will see the tech giant pay publishers in Australia, Brazil and Germany for content as part of a ‘new news experience' it is launching.

Google is to start paying some news publishers for their content, in a deal which could ease tensions between the tech giant and the news industry.

It has announced a licensing programme which will pay publishers for “high-quality content for a new news experience” it will launch later this year.

The new programme will begin with local and national publishers in three countries – Germany, Australia and Brazil – but Google said it plans to add more in the months to come.

As part of the deal, the company said it would also offer to pay for free access to articles behind paywalls in order to help publishers grow their audiences.

In a blog post announcing the new scheme, Google’s vice president of product management for news, Brad Bender, said it is a “significant step” in supporting journalism.

“This programme will help participating publishers monetise 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,” he said.

“This endeavour will diversify our support for news businesses today, building on the value we already provide through Search and our ongoing efforts with the Google News Initiative to help journalism thrive in the digital age.”

Google and other tech giants have clashed with the news industry in recent years in a number of ways, including over demands that publishers be paid more by platforms for using parts of their content, and whether sites such as Facebook should be considered publishers rather than platforms.

These issues have become more prominent since the coronavirus outbreak, which has taken a financial toll on the news industry.

“A vibrant news industry matters perhaps now more than ever, as people look for information they can count on in the midst of a global pandemic and growing concerns about racial injustice around the world,” Mr Bender said.

“But these events are happening at a time when the news industry is also being challenged financially.

“We care deeply about providing access to information and supporting the publishers who report on these important topics.”

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