For years now, European news publishers and governments have tried getting Google to pay them to license content with legal and legislative battles and tortured fights over copyright laws. Google is now ready to comply after fighting the idea of paying publishers to display or link to their content.
According to Google in a recent blog post, the company would start paying “for high-quality content for a new news experience launching later this year.” Google hasn’t disclose any more information beyond the fact that the program will be part of “an enhanced storytelling experience that lets people go deeper into more complex stories.”
Google signed licensing deals with local and national publishers in three different countries: Brazil, Australia and Germany, “with more coming soon.” No information about specific deal terms has been released yet. Selection or participation criteria beyond “high quality” has been disclosed either.
There has been an increased demand and traffic for news content since 2016 and the onset of COVID-19. Unfortunately, due to the corresponding economic crisis, ad revenues have declined significantly. We’ve seen more and more publishers putting up paywalls so they don’t have to rely on advertising as much.
There is an increase in investment for Google in supporting journalism in recent years. As an example, the Google News Initiative (which launched in 2018), was a huge financial commitment to publishers.
In some cases, Google will pay for access to paywall-protected content so users have access to news content under this new licensing program. This content will appear in both Google News and Google Discover feed.