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Google offers ten million, Canadian media want 600

While Ottawa is considering forcing Google and Facebook to pay royalties to the news media, Google has just made an initial offer of about 10 million a year that is considered clearly insufficient by the vast majority of the country's media. . 19659002] Posted October 2, 2020 at 7:00 am

Vincent Brousseau-Pouliot
La ​​Presse

The Canadian news media have a different number in mind: about $ 600 million a year for Google and Facebook.

Why 600 million? This is the value of the proposed royalty in Australia, a country similar to Canada that imposes a very strict regulatory framework. Google and Facebook may have to pay a news media tax for the ads generated by the news on their platforms. In Australia, Google is disputing the amount of 600 million (this is the total amount for Google, Facebook and other digital platforms).

"We are pleased that Google recognizes the principle of the value of our content, but we want compensation comparable to that of the media in Australia. We hope to reach a positive conclusion on this matter within a few weeks," said John Hinds, president and CEO of News Media Canada, which represents more than 100 print news media.

Against this backdrop, Google announced a new $ 1 billion three-year program on Thursday for news media around the world. pay a license fee to use media content in a new section of Google News. About $ 333 million a year is a lot of money. Except that Google generated 162 billion in global revenues in 2019. Of which US 2.2 billion a year in ad revenue from news media content, according to calculations by Jean-Hugues Roy, professor of journalism at UQAM.

Google did not specify how much would be given. However, by relying on the size of the Canadian economy relative to the G20 countries, we arrive at an estimate of CAN 11.4 million per year to be redistributed among the Canadian media.

Instead, Google estimates that in Canada it generates about $ 9 million per year in revenue from ads related to news media articles on its search engine.

According to Google, news accounts for only 1.5% of the total requests on the search engine. “We recognize the role that news plays in educating and informing Canadians, but it may surprise some that it is a very small fraction of the websites people choose to visit based on our search results, Google said by email.

Google's initial offering did not spark much interest in the Canadian mainstream media. Only two Canadian web media, Narcity Media and Village Media (local Ontario weekly newspapers), were announced as Google partners on Thursday.

Will Ottawa force Google to pay?

This global royalty program from Google brings as many G20 countries – including Canada – with interest to the deadlock between Google and Australia.

In Canada, the Trudeau administration wants a "complete and fairer digital regulatory framework in Canada". And Google's announcement doesn't change that goal set out in the Speech from the Throne last week.

It's a matter of fairness: those who benefit from the Canadian ecosystem must also contribute […]. It also means that Canadian news organizations continue to inform and equip our communities.

The office of Secretary of Canadian Heritage Steven Guilbeault, who specifically researches the models of France and Australia.

An interesting coincidence: On the same day Google made its announcement, the country's major news outlets had a conference call with Secretary Steven Guilbeault to discuss the royalty file.

Both La Presse and Le Devoir want Ottawa to impose new rules that would force the web giants to pay news media for the ads generated by their content.

"I would like to salute Minister Guilbeault's view on this issue," said Pierre-Elliott Levasseur, president of La Presse. I also support the Federal Government's Speech from the Throne regarding addressing the inequalities in the digital advertising market, which have been created over time by the dominance of Google and Facebook, and which are very damaging to the media in Canada. This is an important topic, which is current not only in Canada but also in many mature democracies around the world. "

" These initiatives [l’annonce de Google] will never replace the fair and universal rules imposed by the government, rules that ensure a fair contribution from all players in the media industry to the exploitation of our content, says Brian Myles, director of Le Devoir. The idea goes to the heart and spirit of the Yale report: all actors benefiting from the Canadian production system will have to contribute. "

" Why settle for crumbs when we need whole bread to feed everyone? Asks Pascale St-Onge, president of the National Federation of Communication and Culture (FNCC-CSN), a union representing workers in various media.

In Australia, negotiations lasted 18 months before the government intervened. In Canada, they've clearly just started Thursday's offering. "Google is a better player than Facebook, which gives nothing back to content creators," said Professor Jean-Hugues Roy. But Google can do better. "

Written by Rahis

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