Google has struck a deal with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp to pay the international media giant for the use of its premium content in the U.S., UK, and Australia, a major win for NewsCorp that could have far-reaching consequences for the relationship between news companies and the Masters of the Universe.
The three-year, multimillion-dollar deal announced Wednesday follows a monthslong standoff between Google and Australia over the search giant’s refusal to compensate the country’s publishers, including News Corp., for use of their material.
The payments will enable Google to feature premium content from more than 30 News Corp. titles — from The Wall Street Journal in the U.S. to The Times in the U.K. and Sky News in Australia — in Google News Showcase, its dedicated news section.
Google has also struck multimillion-dollar deals with other Australian publishers, including Seven West, Nine Entertainment and Junkee Media.
Tech companies have been fighting an all-out assault from media companies for several years, accepting mainstream media narratives such as “fake news” and “misinformation,” and — in the case of Facebook — even allowing mainstream media companies to “fact check” and suppress their competition.
Google already funds the mainstream media. In 2018, the tech giant announced a $300 million fund to support handpicked “quality journalism.”
The latest move is the latest sign that Google and other tech giants now intend to support rather than disrupt the mainstream media.
It comes after years of lobbying, both private and public, on the part of NewsCorp. Murdoch himself has for many years advocated that tech platforms use a carriage fee model along the lines of cable companies, and complained that the openness of tech platforms allows too many “scurrilous news sources” to proliferate.
Google’s decision comes after a months-long battle with the government of Australia, the original home of the Murdoch media empire. The Australian parliament had been set to impose fees on Google and Facebook for the use of publishers’ content on their platforms, persisting in its effort despite Google’s threat to boycott the country. Facebook has taken the opposite approach, announcing “with a heavy heart” that it would censor news content in Australia.
Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. His new book, #DELETED: Big Tech’s Battle to Erase the Trump Movement and Steal The Election, which contains exclusive interviews with sources inside Google, Facebook, and other tech companies, is currently available for purchase.