ACM signs letter of intent for Facebook news deal

Australian Community Media (ACM) is the latest publisher to enter into talks with Facebook which will see the latter pay for news published on its platform.

ACM announced it has signed a Letter Of Intent (LOI) for a multi-year agreement to provide news and information to millions of Australians through Facebook News, subject to both companies formally signing the deal.

Over 40 ACM regional, rural and suburban mastheads and publications will be covered by the agreement, including  Newcastle Herald, Canberra Times, Bendigo Advertiser, The Advocate, Katherine Times, Illawarra Mercury, and more.

ACM managing director Tony Kendall

ACM’s managing director, Tony Kendall, said the partnership will help ACM continue to build its platforms and grow its audience.

“We’re passionate about keeping our communities strong, informed and connected and this partnership will ensure our trusted regional and rural news will reach new audiences. The support also enables ACM to continue to build our digital platforms and grow our audience for our original news.”

Facebook Australia and New Zealand, new partnership lead, Andrew Hunter, said Facebook is committed to helping publishers build sustainable business models.

“This LOI solidifies our partnership and gives us access to premium local news to support our upcoming Facebook News product that we plan to bring to Australia.

“We are committed to help publishers reach news audiences and build sustainable business models. We are continuing to invest in programs to support journalism and our agreement with ACM continues our work with the news community in Australia.”

The partnership comes as independent regional media company Times News Group announced its own publisher agreement to provide content to Google News Showcase.

Times News Group is based on Torquay and has offices in Bendigo and Ballarat, publishing seven mastheads: Surf Coast Times, Bellarine Times, Armstrong Creek Times, Ballarat Times, Golden Plains Times, Geelong Times and Bendigo Times.

Times News Group directors Mark Casey, Warick Brown and Nick Abbott

Managing director Warick Brown said: “Google have been nothing but supportive and respectful of the energy and effort that goes into publishing hyper-local community content,” Mr Brown said.

“Google understands the authority regional newspapers have in the communities they serve, and by providing us with a platform on Google News Showcase they will help take our content further and reach larger audiences.

“Their financial support is a benefit to us and public interest journalism. We can now invest back into our team of journalists to continue to be the voice of the community.”

The two deals follow Seven West Media finalising its own news agreements with both Facebook and Google, yesterday announcing a three-year deal with the former and a five-year deal with the latter.

Last week, the ACCC granted interim authorisation for members of Country Press Australia to begin negotiations with Facebook and Google.

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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