ABC signs letters of intent with both Google and Facebook

The ABC has signed letters of intent with both Google and Facebook, becoming the latest media outlet in the country to sign commercial agreements with the two digital giants.

ABC Managing Director David Anderson made the statements during a Senate Estimates hearing yesterday evening.

“When these commercial deals are concluded, they will enable the ABC to make new and significant investments in regional services,” he said.

“These investments will provide a huge boost to the regions at a time when many areas of regional and rural Australia have experienced a withdrawal of media services.”

The public broadcaster reaches 80% of Australians on a monthly basis, according to Anderson’s statements.

“The ABC is never very far from discussions about how Australians engage with each other both as a nation and within smaller communities,” Anderson continued. “In the digital age, these discussions have included the role of changing technology in facilitating or hindering our ability to engage with each other.”

He added that the ABC was “the most trusted media outlet and source of news, entertainment, and information for all Australians”.

Australian Community Media (ACM) announced it had signed a Letter Of Intent (LOI) for a multi-year agreement with Facebook earlier this month, to provide news and information to millions of Australians through Facebook News.

During the senate hearings into the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code in January, Mark Tapley, director strategy at the ABC, told the senate that, depending on the amount of revenue that flowed from Google and Facebook to the ABC, the ABC would “be looking to enhance the infrastructure that supports that journalism… and we certainly would be looking to invest not only in journalism but in the tools that help that journalism be made.”

He stated: “The inclusion of the ABC in the remuneration arrangements under the code has the potential to provide a major boost to coverage of regional Australia and also strengthen the ABC’s emergency coverage. This is particularly important at a time when there has been a withdrawal of some local commercial media. The ABC, with 48 locations outside the capital cities, has the track record and capability to deliver the benefits flowing from the code and ensure that revenue generated from taxpayer funded journalism goes back into services for the community.”

Earlier in the year Seven West Media finalised news agreements with both Facebook and Google, for three-years with the former and a five-year deal with the latter.

Facebook has also inked payment deals with News Corp, as well as independent news companies Private Media, Schwartz Media and Solstice Media.

The Guardian Australia and News Corp have also signed up for Google News Showcase. Nine is yet to finalise its own deals with either company, with negotiations ongoing.


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