Google and Facebook talks ‘promising’

Google has entered into a landmark agreement with Seven West Media following a government push to make tech giants pay for news content.

The move announced on Monday follows the government’s proposed media bargaining code gaining cross-party support in a Senate inquiry.

Seven West Media – which owns 7NEWS, the West Australian, PerthNow and other titles – announced it had entered into a long-term partnership with the tech giant to provide news content to Google News Showcase.

Chairman Kerry Stokes thanked Scott Morrison, ACCC chair Rod Sims and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg for their work.

“Their outstanding leadership on the implementation of the proposed news media bargaining code has resulted in us being able to conclude negotiations that result in fair payment and ensure our digital future,” Mr Stokes said.

“The negotiations with Google recognise the value of quality and original journalism throughout the country and, in particular, in regional areas.

“We believe their team is committed to the spirit of the proposed code.”

The agreement is expected to be finalised over the next 30 days.

Google News Showcase launched in Australia this month via the Google news app and is spruiked as a way forward for participating news publishers to increase their revenue through “monthly payments from Google”.

Users will be given free access to select stories, while others will remain behind a paywall.

News Showcase is already available in Germany, Brazil, the UK and Argentina.

RELATED: Senate committee recommends charging tech giants for news

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg spoke with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Google over the weekend.

“We have made real progress I think in the last 48 to 72 hours,” Mr Frydenberg told Today on Monday.

“I think we are going to see some significant commercial deals, which could be of real benefit to the domestic media landscape and see journalists rewarded financially for generating original content.

“This is a world-leading reform.”

Under the laws, Google and Facebook would be forced to pay Australian media outlets for news content accessed on their platforms.

The tech giants have vehemently opposed the push, with Google threatening to withdraw its search engine from Australia.

Facebook also warned that it would prevent Australians from sharing and accessing news on the platform.

“It has been a difficult process,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“It is still ongoing, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

“But the discussions to date have been very promising indeed.”

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