Google will pay publishers more than US$1 billion over the next three years through a new program for licensing news, reported Reuters.
The tech giant has signed licensing deals with about 200 publications in select countries, with plans to add more and expand geographically. Google, along with Facebook, controls a large share of the advertising dollars that once went to publishers in the news industry. Shrinking ad revenue has led to smaller newsrooms and diminishing resources for telling local stories.
The billion dollar spend on licensing news is Google’s way of showing publishers it is committed to paying for high quality journalism and sustaining a struggling industry. The licensing deals, previously announced in June, are part of a new product called News Showcase, where participating publishers can curate and decide for themselves how to present their content on the platform.
The content is displayed as a “story panel,” and publishers can employ timelines, bullets or related articles to tease the story and encourage viewers to click through to their site to read more. Google will pay some publishers to make paywalled articles free to access for non-subscribers.
Starting Thursday, October 1, Google users in Brazil and Germany can access the feature. At launch, News Showcase will only be available in the Google News app on Android. But it will soon come to the iOS app and later expand to the Google Discover app and Google search.
“It’s clear that the newspaper industry has long faced economic challenges,” Brad Bender, Google’s vice president of product management for news, told CNN Business. “I think a number of us in the ecosystem want to step up and enable a better future for news. This is a very big investment, our biggest investment today, but it really does build on our 20 years of efforts with the industry.”
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