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Government forces Google and Facebook to pay for NZ News


The government is set to follow Australia and Canada in proposing legislation requiring people to pay for local news used by internet giants Google and Meta.

The intervention is designed to throw a lifeline to media organizations whose advertising revenue is declining as their audiences move online and are instead acquired by internet search and social media companies.

Broadcast Minister Willie Jackson confirmed on Sunday that the government would introduce legislation to act as a backstop if major internet platforms did not voluntarily enter into contracts with news outlets.

He said they will likely be given three to six months before the mandatory arbitration process begins.

Read more:* News outlet says Google is offering ‘low-value deals’ to select a handful of media companies * Google News Showcase launch is ‘a good start, but not enough not,’ says minister Facebook to revive news content after Australian government agrees to last-minute fix to media code

We’ve probably lost 50% of our journalists in the last decade. We have to give hope to the little players out there. He told the media that he was proud to introduce this bill to help them.

It’s not fair that big digital platforms like Google and Meta are allowed to host and share local news for free. It’s expensive to produce news and it’s the only fair they pay, Jackson said.

In reality, we are talking about $30 million to $50 million coming back to the local market.

This law is based on the laws used in Canada and Australia.

He said big companies are likely to want to trade to avoid a mandated process. They just made 150 deals because they don’t want legislation.

Stuff CEO Sinead Boucher said he was pleased the government recognized the huge power imbalance between publishers and platforms.

The staff are part of a New Zealand media group trying to negotiate with Google and Meta, but Boucher said the process has yet to come up with anything close to a fair offer. The only exceptions were those with legislation or threatened legislation, she said.


Canadian MP Peter Julian asks Google Canada’s Colin McKay during a hearing on Canada’s media funding bill.

Boucher said it was a powerful move to support the local media industry.

For too long, platforms have tapped into publisher-created and paid-for journalism to build businesses of unimaginable scale and power. Against the backdrop of content invested and created by others, they are able to dominate the digital advertising market, undermining the sustainability of local publishers and local journalism, she said. .

We want a deal that represents a fair exchange for the industry as a whole (publishers large and small) for the value that platforms derive from using our content, and we want a commitment to quality New Zealand journalism. Allows for continued investment and development.Form of law at the time of introduction [in the New Year]she said.

NZME, which publishes the NZ Herald along with other mastheads, reached a unique agreement with Google and Facebook earlier this year.

In a statement, it said it would review the proposed law to determine how it would affect the deal.

We support government legislation that ensures the future sustainability of local news media and contributes to a healthy media ecosystem. NZME Chief Executive Michael Boggs looks forward to continued constructive engagement on the issue.

National spokesperson Melissa Lee said she believes if the platform is making money from the news, it should be paid.

However, she said she was concerned about the potential unintended consequences if the government interfered in the negotiation process already underway.

Canada’s Online News Act is now the equivalent of Canada’s Ad Hoc Commission, which allows Google and digital news intermediaries intended to include Meta to take action against news organizations and Requests to enter into a funding agreement.

Colin McKay, Google’s head of public policy in Canada, told the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage in October that the Australian regime, which Google initially opposed, was a viable solution.

However, he said he had serious concerns about Canada’s approach.

One reason, he said, was that it defined the news business it supported so broadly that it didn’t have to adhere to basic journalism standards.

That could mean that Canada’s media funding laws have led to the spread of misinformation and clickbait, with Canadians using foreign propaganda outlets to access news from Le Devoir and The Globe and Mail, as well as media outlets. , he said.

Kevin Chan, global policy director at Metas, said the presumption that Meta unfairly profited from its relationships with publishers was not true, instead offering free marketing, and said that such laws would not allow such laws. I objected more generally.

Policies that unfairly subsidize traditional media companies currently struggling to adapt to the online environment are an approach that harms competition, undermines trust in media, and makes the transition to a digital model even more difficult. says Chan.

He went on to say that Facebook may be forced to consider whether to continue to allow news content sharing on Facebook in Canada.

A compromise has been reached after Google and Facebook owner Meta waged a rearguard battle against similar legal changes in Australia.

Getty Images

Emergency services and health Facebook pages are caught up in a tech company’s decision to block Australian news content.

Australia’s News Media Negotiations Act effectively forced Google and Meta to negotiate deals with the media under the threat of being forced by an arbitrator appointed by the Australian Media and Communications Authority.

Rod Sims, former chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, said that as a result of the law, Google and Meta agreed to pay local media more than A$200 million (NZ$212 million) a year. However, neither company has confirmed the amount. .

In 2020, Google announced a three-year, US$1 billion (NZ$1.6 billion) budget to license content from publishers around the world.

In August, as part of that initiative, we entered into agreements with NZME and RNZ, owners of The New Zealand Herald, to purchase the rights to use content provided in the Google News Showcase app.

Two deals, believed to be worth millions of dollars a year combined, will give Google users free access to curated news stories, including paywalled NZME content provided and curated by publishers. will be

But the launch of the Google News Showcase in New Zealand has given other big media companies a snub, including TV3 owners Warner Bros. Discovery, Staff and TVNZ.

Jackson said in August that Google’s deals with NZME and RNZ were poorly supported by the media and needed as many agreements as possible, and they need to be high-quality agreements. It was suggesting that you were running out of power.

Earlier this month, the Trade Commission granted local independent media outlets such as Stuff and Allied Press permission to negotiate with Google and Meta as a bloc.

However, so far, no further deals are believed to have closed.




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