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Google to enter payment deals with Irish news publishers

Negotiations are to begin within weeks.


Google is to start paying major Irish news publishers this year.

Google is to start paying major Irish news publishers this year.

Google is to start paying major Irish news publishers this year.

Irish publishers are to begin negotiations with Google over payment for news articles, Independent.ie understands.

Discussions are expected to begin in the coming weeks, according to executives from Google and Independent News & Media, one of the biggest likely beneficiaries of such a deal.

The move comes as Google expands the number of countries for its ‘News Showcase’ product, which sees the search giant pay news publishers for the display of their work.

Independent News & Media's publisher, Peter Vandermeersch, said that the Mediahuis-owned publishing group had "a good meeting" with Google on the matter. "In the weeks to come we will investigate this in more detail," he said.

Google and Facebook recently clashed with the Australian government over a threat from Canberra to tax news article links. However, the government backed off when the two tech giants signed payment deals with that country’s biggest publishers.

Google’s global vice president of news, Richard Gingras, said today that newspaper payment deals range from “five figures to seven figures” depending on the size of the publisher.

However, he said that Google will make no money from its payment deals with news publishers but is instead engaging with them to subsidise a “healthy ecosystem”.

“It’s not designed to be profitable,” he told Independent.ie. “We look at it indirectly. The benefit to us is that if there’s a healthy ecosystem, there is greater value in what we provide with search. It also means that publishers will continue to be viable and generate revenue for us. But we don’t feel that Showcase are direct revenue lines for Google.”

Mr Gingras also said that news represents “far less than 1pc of our direct revenue”.

“It’s absolutely tiny. It’s not a money-maker. In comparison to how much money we earn, we’re investing exponentially more [in these payment deals].”

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He said that negotiations are underway in “two dozen” more countries for news publisher deals.

The payment deals have divided the tech and media industries, with some tech commentators decrying the deals as subsidies. In contrast, media company executives say that Google and Facebook have benefitted unduly from online activity spurred from the work of journalists and content creators without being adequately compensated.

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