Junkee becomes latest publisher to sign Google News Showcase deal

Junkee Media has become the latest publisher to sign a letter of intent to be paid under Google’s News Showcase program, two days after Seven did the same and almost two weeks after the product launched with Australian Community Media, Schwartz Media, and Private Media titles.

Nine has reportedly also entered into a preliminary agreement with the tech company, although it has not yet confirmed any such arrangement on the stock exchange.

Junkee’s agreement coincides with a commitment from the government to amend the draft laws underneath which Google News Showcase would sit, ensuring the News Media Bargaining Code is clear that the digital platforms are expected to make lump sum payments to news companies, rather than pay for clicks.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said it was “encouraging” to see news outlets and Google “reaching commercial agreements” so soon after the bill was endorsed by the senate economics legislation committee in a report delivered in response to two days of public hearings.

On the second day of those hearings, Junkee’s CEO Neil Ackland told senators that should negotiations fail and Google withdraw from the market, “the impact of that would undoubtedly put pressure on jobs, particularly journalism roles, and could potentially be fatal for businesses like ours”.

Accordingly, Ackland is “extremely pleased with the outcome of this deal”.

“We’ve said throughout the News Bargaining Code debate that we’ve always valued our relationship with Google, and we’re very happy that it will continue,” he said.

“This is a significant investment that will allow us to set up a content infrastructure that will ensure Junkee’s sustainability well into the future.”


Three quarters of Junkee’s traffic comes from Google and Facebook, according to testimony delivered by Ackland and editorial director Rob Stott at the senate hearing, held at the beginning of the month.

Stott added: “This investment will allow Junkee to create more public interest journalism that speaks to and for young Australians – for more than a decade, Junkee has been a crucial voice in the Australian media landscape, and this investment will help that voice to grow stronger and louder in the years ahead.”

Google’s managing director, Mel Silva, is currently on maternity leave after giving birth shortly after answering senators’ questions at the first day of the hearings. She said that “there are now almost 50 Australian media titles signed onto Showcase, with a total of 500 worldwide”.

“We’re pleased to welcome Junkee Media to Google News Showcase, an innovative digital media company covering the news that interests and impacts the lives of young Australians,” Silva continued.

“We’re excited about the early performance of Showcase with Australian partners receiving a million views on their content in just over a week, and we look forward to building on that in the months ahead.”

However, the union for journalists warned the government that these deals should not delay a vote on the bill.

“The deals which have been reported in the past 48 hours only came about because of the threat of arbitration under the proposed news bargaining code,” the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance’s media federal president, Marcus Strom said.

“Media companies have a moral obligation to demonstrate that the millions they will receive from Google will be spent on news gathering and not on share dividends.

“Any monies from these deals need to end up in the newsroom, not the boardroom. We will be pressing the case for transparency on how these funds are spent. But it should be noted it is only Google who has been willing to negotiate. Facebook continues to resist compensating media outlets.”

Facebook has been quiet amidst the Google News Showcase developments, only confirming after the senate committee’s report was released that “we hope the Australian Government will agree on a workable solution that truly protects the long-term sustainability of the news industry”.


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