The move follows Australia’s recent historic move to approve a law that would force social media and tech giants to pay publishers for news on independently set terms unless they can agree their own deals directly.
Facebook strongly resisted the legislation and, for a little over a week, prevented Australian netizens from sharing news on its platform. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that Facebook had unfriended the country. Facebook ceased hostilities after last minute negotiations between Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Australia’s finance minister Josh Frydenberg introduced a higher degree of flexibility into the legislation.
News Corp reached a three-year deal with Google in February, just days before the legislation became active, and says it has a deal with Apple as well.
The new agreement involves News Corp Australia and includes The Australian national newspaper, the news.com.au news site, major metropolitan mastheads like The Daily Telegraph in New South Wales, Herald Sun in Victoria and The Courier-Mail in Queensland and regional and community publications. Sky News Australia has also reached a new agreement with Facebook which extends and significantly builds on an existing arrangement.
The three-year deal (in Australia) follows an agreement reached in October, 2019 in which News Corp publications in the U.S. receive payments in exchange for access to additional stories for Facebook News.
“The agreement with Facebook is a landmark in transforming the terms of trade for journalism, and will have a material and meaningful impact on our Australian news businesses. Mark Zuckerberg and his team deserve credit for their role in helping to fashion a future for journalism, which has been under extreme duress for more than a decade,” said Robert Thomson, News Corp chief executive, in a prepared statement.
“Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch led a global debate while others in our industry were silent or supine as digital dysfunctionality threatened to turn journalism into a mendicant order. We are grateful to the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chair Rod Sims and his team for taking a principled stand for publishers, small and large, rural and urban, and for Australia. This digital denouement has been more than a decade in the making,” the statement continued.
Google says it has signed up more than 450 publications worldwide as partners for Google News Showcase. Within Australia, it has signed up publishers including Crikey, the Conversation, the New Daily and regional newspapers from Australian Community Media.