Seven major Australian publishers sign exclusive content deals with Facebook

Just weeks after the ACCC’s Digital Platform Inquiry final report recommended Facebook begins to address the damage it’s done to journalism in Australia by investing back into media companies, the social media giant has announced several key partnership deals with major publishers.

Broadcasters including Nine, Seven, SBS, Ten and Sky News have all signed agreements to provide content to Facebook, including the announcement of several original news shows exclusively for Facebook Watch.

The publisher partners will have full editorial control and will collaborate with Facebook to work on content that best resonates with audiences on the platform.

Campbell Brown, vice president global news partnerships at Facebook, said the platform is proud to be supporting Australian newsrooms with the partnerships.

“This is exactly the kind of partnership we want to have with the news industry. Australia’s newsrooms are doing innovative, high-quality work with video. Facebook is proud to support their great journalism and excited to bring this work to Watch,” said Brown.

The model mirrors one used by Facebook in the US, where it partnered with ABC News, Fox News and CNN, among others, for exclusive content.

Seven’s exclusive content for the platform will be the 7News-created The Latest on Facebook Watch, hosted by 7News anchor Michael User, which will be a fast-paced daily news show breaking down the day’s headlines, unpacking trending videos, and interviewing news makers.

Craig McPherson, director of news and public affairs, Seven Network said: “7News will provide a high quality service to Facebook which I’m sure will be mutually beneficial. It’s great for original content makers to now get revenue for our product from Facebook and we look forward to furnishing a profitable ongoing relationship.”

Nine’s 9NewsWatch with Sylvia Jeffreys will air at 8pm weeknights on the Facebook Watch platform.

Junkee Media: The Takeaway will be a nightly news show delving into trending topics from each day, and Pedestrian.TV will deliver 15 Minutes, a weekly interview series over three months which will dive behind memorable headlines in Australian news history.

Tim Duggan, publisher, Junkee Media said: “We’re thrilled to partner with Facebook to create an agenda-setting new show using our talented journalists and producers. We know that young Australians are highly engaged with the news, but they’re often drowning with too much information coming at them all of the time in every medium.

Vanessa Lawrence, publisher, Pedestrian Group said: “Millions of young Aussies already look to PEDESTRIAN.TV for stories of local characters who, whether for good or ill, find their fifteen minutes of viral fame. Our upcoming Facebook Watch series, ‘15 Minutes’, lets us take that coverage to a new and deeper level, bringing the stories behind the headlines and memes to our readers.”

“We’ve very excited that The Takeaway will cut through all of the noise, and help explain the most important parts of the trending stories that everyone is talking about each day. It will be the news that they care about, told in a fun and accessible format directly on Facebook Watch where we know the audience already is,” said Duggan.

Sky News’ Unpacked will also be provided exclusively to Facebook Watch, hosted by reporter Madeleine Hale, and sees the broadcaster change its video strategy to focus on monetisation of content.

Ten will extend its Ten News First national and state news bulletins onto Facebook Watch, hosted by its team of journalists, and optimise The Project’s content for social audiences. The partnership will also include exclusive and original content from Ten Daily and Ten News First, as both extended and catch-up offerings.

Alexander Needs, director of partnerships and strategy for Nine News and current affairs said: “The opportunity for Nine in producing 9NewsWatch is significant because it will enable us to test how we best use Facebook alongside our premium content brands. 9NewsWatch with Sylvia Jeffreys will experiment with premium news content in new and innovative ways which we are confident people will love.”

Will Easton, managing director of Facebook Australia, said: “16m Australians come to Facebook to share what they love, and discuss topics that are important to them. By partnering with Australia’s leading news and current affairs organisations we believe more Australians will be able to connect to and share timely, relevant and quality news video. We are working with Australian news publishers to offer mobile-first content and support them build sustainable video businesses.”

The partnership has led to some raised eyebrows after the ACCC Digital Platform Inquiry final report painted a bleak picture for the future of journalism in Australia after the monopoly both Facebook and Google have established on the landscape. The 23 recommendations which came from the report, many of which addressed the overwhelming control the digital platforms have on the way publishers are able to distribute and monetise their content, were widely supported by the industry, despite the fact they didn’t seem to push as hard as some of the submissions made by media outlets had encouraged the ACCC to push.


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