Internet giant Google says it has signed licensing agreements to pay for content from several Australian news publishers, as part of a global program.
In Australia, Google has drawn up agreements with Solstice Media – publisher of digital news sites InDaily in South Australia and InQueensland, Schwartz Media, which publishes the Saturday Paper, Quarterly Essay and The Monthly as well as Crikey and SmartCompany publisher Private Media.
It is also in discussions with regional news publisher Australian Community Media.
“We’re in discussions with a diverse array of publishers of all sizes in Australia and around the world — including major publishers, and regional and local papers — and hope to have more to announce in the near future,” Google Australia Managing Director Mel Silva said.
Google’s “news experience” product will feature on Google News and Google Discover and will launch next year, according to a post published on the company’s blog.
It also has agreements in a few other countries, including with Germany’s Spiegel news magazine and Brazilian regional media company Diarios Associados.
Google said it has been working on the project since the end of last year. While it did not share how much it would pay, it it said this will be a significant investment.
The technology company, along with social media giant Facebook, has until now drawn widespread flak for refusing to buy content from newspaper publishers and other media.
Google and Facebook compete with news outlets worldwide for advertising dollars, which has frequently been cited as a major reason for the shrinking of the media industry.
In Australia, the competition watchdog has promised to even up the market imbalance between news organisations and the tech giants.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is in the process of setting up a mandatory code of conduct, under which Google and Facebook could be forced to pay for news content.