Australia has reigned supreme in its long-running feud with Facebook and Google, over its new law forcing the American technology groups to pay for news viewed on their platforms, according to the country’s competition watchdog.
It comes as a number of large Australian media companies have struck deals with the country’s online media powerhouses, including most recently Nine Entertainment.
It joins News Corp, and Seven West Media, which also signed agreements, along with several smaller publishers.
Rod Sims, chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, pronounced the victory, telling the Financial Times that Facebook and Google had been pushed into talks by the new law.
“It’s been a big success. We are just about there and the media companies are happy, and that’s the key point”, he said.
Nine forecasts that its deal will lift adjusted profits at its publishing business by A$30 million (€19 million) to A$40 million (€25.4 million) next year, and according to Financial Times estimates, the agreements negotiated by the Australian publishers are worth in total around A$200 million (€126.75) a year.
It has been a controversial and tumultuous few months for the country’s measure, which was intended to break the stranglehold on advertising dollars held by the big digital platforms at the expense of news companies, by forcing them to pay for content viewed on their platforms.
With the rise to dizzying dominance of Facebook and Google’s offerings, news organisations around the world have seen advertising revenues plummet, with thousands of journalist jobs lost and numerous outlets forced to close in Australia alone in the last decade.
In February, responding to the law, Facebook banned links to Australia-based news websites and sparked controversy by also mistakenly banning some Government agencies’ and charities’ pages.
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