Tag: Australia Google

Will Australia’s media framework code for Google & Facebook to pay for news content solve the issue?

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By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, 26 February 2021: The passing of the Treasury Laws Amendment (News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code) Bill 2020 by the Australian Parliament is a landmark law that creates a voluntary framework for Google and Facebook to pay selected Australian media houses for their content used on their platforms. Google already has moved in this direction and Facebook after its unprecedented ban on Australian content on its platform reached an agreement with the government, which agreed to some amendments to the then-proposed law. Facebook has, meanwhile, started restoring its services in Australia, but it is taking time.

The new law says it will “..establish a mandatory code under which registered Australian news business corporations and designated digital platform corporations must comply with requirements including provision of information and non-differentiation and may bargain about the amount to be paid for making available certain news content on designated platform services.” (Bills Digest, Parliament of Australia, 15 February 2021).

The controversial law was contested by big-tech saying Australia does not understand the business model they follow. Big Australian media companies have been seeing their advertising revenue shifting drastically to Google and Facebook over the years. The rationale behind the code is ” The Bill seeks to address a bargaining power imbalance that exists between digital platforms and Australian news businesses which was identified in the Final Report of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Digital Platforms Inquiry, ” says the Bills Digest, Parliament of Australia.

It now remains to be seen whether the new law will cruise the traditional media out of its revenue blues created by the rise of social media platforms. The new law is an outcome of the ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry which took three years of public
inquiry and debate about the relationship between news media, audiences, advertising, and the platform companies. The issue is important and is likely to expand as at present Google and Facebook have a monopoly on advertising revenue and they are not considered media companies. So, media companies will and are in competition with social media platforms that deal with media content in many ways but are not media companies. In fact, there is much more to the story.

Interestingly, the government-funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) are included in the news media code. But the ethnic media and other smaller media are not part of the code, despite widely catering to the Australian people in English and different languages and being very much connected to Google, Facebook, and other social media platforms. Are they not investing in news content being used and accessed through Google, Facebook and Twitter? This may look like a bit overreach attempt but is a potent view.

READ FULL DIGEST AND INFORMATION ABOUT THE MEDIA CODE FROM THE PARLIAMENT LIBRARY HERE.

News bargaining code remains essential to support small media outlets: MEAA

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BY SAT Newsdesk

MELBOURNE, 18 February 2021: The decision of Facebook to stop news through main Australian media outlets, after the House of Representatives passed the News Media Bargaining Code that will force high-tech companies to pay media houses for content has drawn a sharp reaction from the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA), the organization representing Australian journalists.

Content deals reportedly struck between major publishers and Google in recent days should not deter Federal Parliament from passing News Media Bargaining Code laws this week, says the union for Australia’s journalists.

The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance says the reported deals between Google and both Nine Entertainment Co. and Seven West Media are welcome developments, but Parliament must proceed with the bargaining code legislation to ensure that all media operators – including AAP, regional and local organisations, and others regardless of their size – are compensated by digital platforms for the use of their content.

MEAA Media Federal President Marcus Strom said the laws were essential because smaller publishers and broadcasters did not have the same ability to negotiate directly on relatively equal terms with Google and Facebook as did media conglomerates like Nine and Seven.

“The deals which have been reported in the past 48 hours only came about because of the threat of arbitration under the proposed news bargaining code,” Mr Strom said.

“Media companies have a moral obligation to demonstrate that the millions they will receive from Google will be spent on news gathering and not on share dividends.

“Any monies from these deals need to end up in the newsroom, not the boardroom. We will be pressing the case for transparency on how these funds are spent.

“But it should be noted it is only Google who has been willing to negotiate. Facebook continues to resist compensating media outlets.

“The news bargaining code is still needed to ensure both of these global digital platforms contribute to the cost of all the journalism that they benefit from, and that smaller players are also compensated for their content, especially community, regional and rural outlets.

“It must also be mandated that when media companies are able to negotiate commercial agreements with digital platforms, they must commit to allocating the funds to journalism, and not other parts of their organizations.”

Mr. Strom said the Morrison Government also must assure Australians that any commercial agreements negotiated by the ABC or SBS will not be used as an excuse for further funding cuts at the two national broadcasters.

The media code is yet to be passed by the Australian Senate.