Facebook signs deals with Private Media, Schwartz Media and Solstice Media

Independent news companies Private Media, Schwartz Media, Solstice Media – three of the first outlets to sign up to Google News Showcase – have entered into deals with Facebook, three days after Seven did the same, hours after the platform backflipped on its local news ban, which came into effect this morning.

The businesses have signed letters of intent to be paid for news content, including usually paywalled content, on Facebook, and the commercial agreements will be formalised when a full agreement is signed within 60 days.

Rebecca Costello, the CEO of Schwartz Media – which publishes The Saturday Paper, The Monthly, and the 7am podcast – noted: “We have collaborated with Facebook in the past and we look forward to the ways in which this deal will help us to continue producing Australia’s leading independent journalism.

“It’s never been more important than it is now to have a plurality of voices in the Australian press.”

Eric Beecher, the chair of both Private Media and Solstice Media, has maintained that Google and Facebook “haven’t stolen the content, they haven’t stolen the advertising”. Charging the platforms a social licence to support public interest journalism would be a better solution than the News Media Bargaining Code, Beecher told senators at the start of the month, before the code was passed through the senate this week.

Private Media’s CEO, Will Hayward – who was promoted to the role this month – added that the business is “excited to grow our existing partnership with Facebook; this new round of support will help fund independent journalism in Australia, as well as bring our reporting to new and diverse audiences on Facebook”.

Upon the announcement of its deal this week, Seven’s chair Kerry Stokes said that the Facebook partnership “is a significant move for our business”.

Meanwhile, Nine’s chief executive, Hugh Marks, told Mumbrella after delivering the company’s half year results on Wednesday that, while the business is in negotiations with Facebook, there are “things that are probably present in those terms at the moment that we wouldn’t agree to”.

“It’s really important that we get the structure in terms of those deals absolutely right, because this could be something that we have for the next 30 years, 50 years, 100 years,” the outgoing CEO said.

So we won’t rush it, we will get it right … We still feel there’s a bit of work to do to get there.”


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