For quite some time now, there have been debates around how Google sources original content from publishers, earns billions of ad dollars on it and does not pay any licensing fee for the same. Well, looks like those debates have had at least some impact, on paper for now, as Google announces today a new content licensing program.
In a blog post penned by Google News’ VP of Product Management Brad Bender, the company has announced a “new news experience”, which will launch later this year. And to source content for this revamped Google News, Google will pay some sort of licensing fee to the publishers.
Announcing the program and giving some overlaying details on the same, Bender said, “This program will help participating publishers monetize their content through an enhanced storytelling experience that lets people go deeper into more complex stories, stay informed and be exposed to a world of different issues and interests.”
Additionally, Google may also provide users with free access to certain paywalled content, with the company offering to pay to the publlishers on users’ behalf. This could be a win for subscription media companies, which could do bulk deals with Google to sell their paywalled content. That could drive both revenues and crucial pageviews to such brands.
As of now, Google is planning to start this with a limited set of publishers across a “number of countries”. While the full list of publishers isn’t really out, Bender did mention quotes from a few publishers who are already a part of the program. Among them is Germany’s SPEIGEL group, InQueensland and InDaily from Australia, Brazilian regional media company Diarios Associados among others.
This announcement follows from multiple recent financial initiatives that Google has taken off late. The most notable of them all has been the company’s $300 million ‘Google News Initiative’, wherein it has provided capital to credible regional media companies across the globe. Google also announced ‘Global Journalism Emergency Relief Fund’ to fund local newsrooms in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the infodemic that came along with it.
Google says it has been ‘actively working’ with publisher partners on this new product which will launch first on Google News and Discover.