Industry body says Google ‘missed the point’ in defending its relationship with publishers

Earlier this week Google Australia MD Mel Silva compared the tech giant to a newsagency in its ability to drive audiences to news content, but Peter Miller, CEO of industry body News Media Works says the analogy completely missed the point.

“While both newsagents and Google have built their businesses off the back of news, only newsagents pay for the publications and content they distribute,” said Miller.

Miller said Google has ‘missed the point’ in its rebuttle

Silva’s comments came as Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced a mandatory code which would see Google and Facebook have to pay for the news they display on their platforms. Silva contends that the partnership is a mutually beneficial one and that Google doesn’t unfairly benefit from publishers’ content.

Silva’s comments about the code made it clear Google felt it was doing everything it could to work with publishers on the concerns they have with the tech platforms and a mandatory code is an unnecessary step.

“From the outset, Google actively engaged in the voluntary code process. Google acted in good faith, working constructively by consulting with more than 25 news media businesses – broadcasters, print and online publishers from metro and regional areas. We met with some publishers on multiple occasions to work through and understand complex issues,” said Silva.

“Everyone benefits from this exchange,” she said.

Miller, however, believes an imbalance exists.

“The purpose of the code is to address the imbalance in bargaining power between digital platforms and news media businesses,” said Miller.

“It is clear, notwithstanding protestations of the digital platforms that they are working constructively with publishers, the Government and the ACCC were unconvinced of progress in getting to the nub of the issue – digital platforms coming to terms with their bargaining power being recalibrated so that they pay for news.”


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