Google will start paying publishers for upcoming news service

The service will show stories from chosen publishers inside the news aggregation features, Google News and Discover.
Image: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg

Alphabet Inc.’s Google will begin paying select media outlets featured in a yet-to-be released news service later this year, a major business shift for the search engine after years of pressure from media companies and regulators.

The licensing deals will start in three countries and Google is in talks with publishers in six more, the company said Thursday in a blog post. The service will show stories from chosen publishers inside the news aggregation features, Google News and Discover.

Brad Bender, a Google vice president, wrote in the post that the company would pay for “high-quality content.” Google didn’t disclose the financial terms or when the new service will start.

“This program will help participating publishers monetise 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,” Bender wrote.

For years, media organisations have criticised Google and other internet platforms for their treatment of news articles and grip on digital advertising. Google’s new service will launch in Germany, Australia and Brazil, three countries where the company has faced competition complaints. In response, Google has taken several attempts to mollify publishers.

Facebook, Google’s chief rival in digital ads, also has taken steps to respond to criticism from publishers. The company said in October it would start paying publishers appearing in a News section on the social network. Facebook and Google are the focus of US regulatory probes over competition and market power.

© 2020 Bloomberg

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