Indian publishers push for Aus-like deal with Google to claim a ‘fair share’ in revenue

Publishers are not only in conversation with the tech giants to negotiate revenue share but are also looking at government support in settling the matter

e4m by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Updated: Feb 25, 2021 9:18 AM
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With Australia leading the way in making tech giants such as Google and Facebook pay media outlets for their content, the Indian media has now begun pushing for a similar legislation to save the dwindling print media business in the country. While Facebook and Google have earned in billions using the content produced by these media companies, they have never paid media outlets their fair share to use the articles, said publishers. So now, publishers are not only in conversation with the tech giants to negotiate revenue share but are also looking at government support in settling the matter.

According to Mohit Jain, Vice-President, Indian Newspaper Society (INS), backed by the credibility that print promises to its readers, Google gets hundred per cent authentic news from publishers helping them in their fight against fake news and also generating huge revenue.

“In the dialogue we are having with Google, we are trying to figure out an appropriate monetization model that would work out in favour of both parties. Some publishers are also looking at working with the government for legislative support on the same. At INS, we are hopeful that Google we’ll see the matter professionally and we can settle it with them amicably,” Jain added.

As for Google earning through news, the category has been the highest source of revenue for the company. In October 2020, Google parent Alphabet reported its Q3 2020 earnings. The search engine giant posted total revenue of $46.2 billion. The revenue was up 14% from $40.5 billion in Q3 2019. The net income stood at $11.2 billion for the quarter, against $6.96 billion last quarter. Revenue from advertising stood at $37.09 billion, also up from $33.79 billion in Q3 2019.

But do publishers get a reasonable share of this ad revenue?

“If we talk about revenues from Google ads, the share is so meagre that it counts for almost nothing. There is no transparency or measurement in terms of the money we receive from Google for Google ads,” said MV Shreyams Kumar, Managing Director, Mathrubhumi.

According to him, publishers put in a lot of money and manpower into each and every story and it is only fair they benefit from it financially. “It is high time that we get back some of the benefits that Google enjoys from the readership of these stories,” he said.

Most publishers agreed on the same.

“We need a reasonable share in the revenue,” said I Venkat, Director, Eenadu Group.

As it turns out, it is the print publishers worst hit by losing money to tech giants for all the content they put up online. For videos at least there is a fair revenue share. News brands putting out videos on Youtube for instance have a 45:55 revenue share arrangement for ads.

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