Google rejects demand for heavy compensation to Australian media

Afp / files

Sydney: Google has rejected demands to pay Australian news media millions of dollars per year as compensation under a government-imposed revenue sharing deal.

The company’s top executive in Australia said that Google earned barely $ 10 million (US $ 6.7 million) per year from news-related advertising, a fraction of a government surveillance estimate for the region.

In an effort to be closely watched around the world, Australia’s major internet firms are set to plan to force them to share the advertising revenue they earn from the news featured in their services.

The country’s competition regulator, ACCC has estimated that Google and Facebook together make some $ 6 billion (US $ 4 billion) a year from advertising in Australia.

Major news publishers have demanded the two companies pay at least 10 percent of that money each year to local news organizations, which they say have lost most of their revenue to global technology giants.

Google’s managing director for Australia, Mel Silva, described such figures as wildly unrealistic.

“We all agree that high quality news has great social value, but we also need to understand economics,” Silva said in a blog post on Sunday.

She said Google earned only $ 10 million in revenue last year from clicks on ads placed next to news-related search queries.

“The bulk of our revenue comes not from news queries, but from business intent, such as when someone ‘shoes’ and then clicks on an advertisement,” she said.

Silva also refuted the ACCC’s argument that tech firms derive significant “indirect benefits” from displaying news as content moves users to their platforms.

The news “represents only a small number of queries on Google”, accounting for barely one percent of works on Google search in Australia, she said.

Loss of employment

The Google executive said his company, on the other hand, provided “substantial” value to Australia’s news media by sending people to its website.

“To say this clearly, many people (Australians and beyond) click through Google through Australian news websites, which gives publishers a chance to show ads or turn them into paying customers,” she said. said.

He said that Google search accounted for 3.44 billion visits for Australian news publishers big and small in 2018, valuing those referrals at more than $ 200 million per year for news companies.

Google’s position is ill-suited for negotiations that relate to a mandatory “code of conduct” between the ACCC Google, Facebook and Australian media companies that regulate issues such as revenue sharing, curbing divestment and protecting user privacy .

The regulator suggested last month that Australian publishers may be required to conduct a “mass boycott” of Google and Facebook if voluntary negotiations fail in the code of conduct.

Silva said that Google was willing to participate in the process, but said that “it is important to base judgments on facts, not inaccurate numbers and baseless claims”.

The ACCC has until the end of July to create the final code, which the government has said it will implement quickly.

Google and Facebook have greatly impacted media companies around the world as they capture the lion’s share of online advertising spending.

In response to falling revenues, due to the economic impact of the coronavirus epidemic, Australian outlets have permanently or temporarily closed more than 150 newsrooms, destroying more than 20 per cent of jobs in the region since 2014 is.

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