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Seven signs big Google news deal; ABC, Nine, Guardian reportedly circling

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Seven West Media is Australia’s first major news outlet to sign a deal with Google in order to have the tech giant pay for its news content.

The Australian news media business, which has arms across online, broadcast television and print, has made a multimillion agreement to be a part of Google’s product and licensing program, Google News Showcase. Details on the actual pricing of the deal are yet to be made clear.

The Google feature presents content from publishers in panels, showcasing more details than is usually featured in search results. As a result, Google says it provides outlets with inflated traffic.

While Seven is the first of Australia’s largest news outlets to join News Showcase, Google says it already has deals with 21 smaller publications, including The West Australian, PerthNow, the Albany Advertiser, the Geraldton Guardian and the Broome Advertiser. Globally, Google has deals with over 450 publications.

Related: Bing at the ready: Microsoft officially supports Australia’s media code as Google eyes an exit

Seven West Media Chairman Kerry Stokes called the partnership “a great outcome” for both Seven and Google, also thanking Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Rod Sims, for their role in the changing online-news landscape.

“Their outstanding leadership on the implementation of the proposed News Media Bargaining Code has resulted in us being able to conclude negotiations that result in fair payment and ensure our digital future,” Stokes said.

“Google is to be congratulated for taking a leadership position in Australia and we believe their team is committed to the spirit of the proposed code.”

Google Australia and New Zealand Managing Director Mel Silva welcomed Seven as a “publishing partner” and said the partnership would also help the business of journalism across smaller communities in regional Australia.

“Our partnership with Seven West Media sees us make a substantial investment in the future of journalism not just across the metropolitan areas, but importantly in regional areas too where titles like the Kalgoorlie Miner and the Harvey-Waroona Reporter are at the heart of the local community,” Silva Said.

“Showcase has been very well received since its launch in Australia a little over a week ago with our publisher partners receiving one million views of their content in just eight days, demonstrating that Showcase offers a constructive path forward for publishers, readers, and Google.”

Seven West Media’s announcement that it would enter a long-term partnership with Google comes as the Morrison Government makes further moves to push the much-debated media code into law. The code, which proposes that Google be required to pay news companies for the right to use content, is to be the focus of debate in Parliament this week.

Who’s next?

On Monday, Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said “great progress” had been made in discussions with Google and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

“I think we’re very close to some very significant commercial deals – and in doing so, that will transform the domestic media landscape,” Frydenberg said.

Following Seven’s big sign-up, Google is reportedly closing in on a number of Australia’s other big publishers. Google has confirmed it is currently in talks with News Corp Australia, Nine Entertainment, Guardian Australia and Australian Community Media.

According to the industry sources for Nine Network-co-owned outlet Sydney Morning Herald, the ABC, Nine and Guardian “are in eleventh-hour negotiations” with Google and “the deals could be reached within 48 hours”.


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Guillermo Troncoso
Guillermo is the Editor of Dynamic Business and Manager of film & television entertainment site ScreenRealm.com. Follow him on Twitter.