March 7, 2021

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Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp agrees global deal with Google to develop news content for tech giant

3 min read

Rupert Murdoch’s media empire News Corp has struck a global deal with Google to develop a shared platform that will provide “trusted journalism” in a major partnership between the two firms.

Under the agreement, the two companies will share advertising revenue, delivering “significant payments” to News Corp in return for digital, audio and video journalism that will be hosted on Google’s various platforms, owned by the search engine’s parent company Alphabet Inc.

i understands Mr Murdoch has struck a three year deal with the tech firm that will see it paid substantial funds in return for high-quality content.

Innovative journalism

Under the terms of the deal in the UK, The Times, Sunday Times, and The Sun will join Google News Showcase, while a new subscription platform will see the two companies share advertising revenue with “innovative new video journalism” being hosted on the likes of YouTube.

The deal comes after years of public feuding between Murdoch and Google, most recently in Australia, where Google had previously threatened to shut down its search engine to avoid “unworkable” content laws.

The recent tensions between the major tech giants and the Australian government stem from Canberra’s plans to force the likes of Microsoft, Google and Facebook to compensate media companies for the content hosted on their sites.

The Australian government is pushing through laws that would allow it to appoint an arbitrator to set Google’s content fees if it cannot strike a deal privately, a factor that government and media figures held up as a turning point for negotiations which stalled a year earlier.

(FILES) This file photo taken on September 3, 2019 shows the US multinational technology and Internet-related services company Google logo displayed on a tablet screen in Lille, northern France. - Google threatened on January 22, 2021 to block Australian users from accessing its search service unless the government changed proposed legislation to make the internet giant pay news outlets for their content. (Photo by DENIS CHARLET / AFP) (Photo by DENIS CHARLET/AFP via Getty Images)
Google has threatened to block Australian users from accessing its search service unless the government changed proposed legislation to make the internet giant pay news outlets for their content (Photo: AFP)

News Corp owns two-thirds of Australia’s major city newspapers, while the country’s two largest free-to-air television broadcasters have struck deals with Google collectively worth A$60 million ($47 million) a year, according to media reports..

Google has chosen to strike deals with publishers, and Microsoft Corp has publicly endorsed the proposed Australian law and recently urged the U.S. government to copy it.

In contrast, however, Facebook has taken the drastic move to block all Australian news content from its platform in the country.

Campbell Brown, the company’s vice-president, wrote in a blog post that the Australian move risks doing more harm than good.

Facebook stand off

“Publishers choose to share their stories on Facebook,” she wrote. “From finding new readers to getting new subscribers and driving revenue, news organizations wouldn’t use Facebook if it didn’t help their bottom lines.”

But experts have pointed out that Facebook’s decision means users will be free to post misinformation, such as on Covid vaccines, to other users unless it is picked up by moderators. However, users will not have access to trusted news sources on the Covid pandemic, raising fears of conspiracy theories taking root before they are debunked.

News Corp declined to comment on financial details of the deal, which it said involved “significant payments” by Google.

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