Google revives Aussie news platform launch amid content payment fight

Platform Economy: Sydney, Australia is the home to many Aussie tech companies

Google is reviving plans to launch its own news website in Australia within weeks, according to a regional media outlet contracted to supply articles for the venture, since the search giant struggles world-first proposed laws on content payments.

The launch of the News Showcase product as early as next month’s Google’s most up-to-date strategy in a high-profile campaign against the Australian government’s planned legislation to create the business pay local news suppliers for content which appears in its own search engine.

Misha Ketchell, editor of the academic-penned news property The Conversation, has said that he has been approached by Google Australia¬†“to resume discussions about launching the News Showcase product as soon as possible, potentially in February.

Google had announced plans to establish News Showcase in Australia last June, signing deals with six small local outlets, including The Conversation, for articles. It then delayed the launch, citing regulatory conditions, when Australia’s competition regulator published a draft copy of the networking bargaining code.

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The decision to push ahead with this launch was an apparent show of Google’s willingness to run its content deals, negating the importance of government-mandated legislation.

A spokesman for Google in Australia declined to comment on Wednesday. Two other local publishers confirmed they’d articles details in place for the new site, without discussing recent talks.

Google Australia CEO Mel Silva told a hearing the company would pull its flagship search product from Australia if the legislation, the very first of its scope in the world, went forward.

Under the planned laws, Google and social media behemoth Facebook have to negotiate binding commercial contracts with Australian news outlets whose articles drives traffic to their own platforms. If they can’t strike a bargain, the government will appoint an arbitrator to do it for them.

Google has long argued that the legislation, which is now the subject of a parliamentary inquiry but anticipated to be passed into legislation shortly, is unworkable for them.

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“If Google can demonstrate that it can reach agreement with some publishers then its aim is to show that that commercial arrangements can be made in the absence of some kind of legislative intervention,” explained Derek Wilding, a professor at the University of Technology Sydney’s Centre for Media Transition.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Translation from English to other languages via Google Cloud Translation. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Byron Kaye. Editing by Jane Wardell.

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