With control of nearly three-fourths of print content in Australia, News Corp, owned by Rupert Murdoch, has managed to convince Facebook to pay for its content in the market. The two behemoths signed a three-year deal to this effect overnight, just weeks after a contentious law was signed in Australia, mandating that tech platforms pay for content.
The financial terms of the pact weren't disclosed.
This period has seen intense wrangling between a stubborn Australian government and tech platforms such as Google and Facebook. The latter, after stinging criticism initially, had been the first off the blocks to sign a deal with the government, while Facebook had played hardball, even turning off news in Australia for a time, as it sought the best terms for itself in an increasingly acrimonious battle. Another large media firm, Seven West, also signed a deal with Facebook in February.
“The agreement with Facebook is a landmark in transforming the terms of trade for journalism, and will have a material and meaningful impact on our Australian news businesses,” News Corp CEO Robert Thomson stated. Meanwhile, Andrew Hunter, Facebook’s head of news partnerships for Australia and New Zeland, explained that “the agreements .. mean that people on Facebook will gain access to premium news articles and breaking news video from News Corp’s network of national, metropolitan, rural and suburban newsrooms.”
News Corp already has a deal with Facebook for its US media titles, which involves the tech giant paying for stories to include in its News tab. This deal extends that offer to Australia.
The deal, however, will do little to persuade critics, who contend Australia's new law benefits large publishers such as News Corp most, while being detrimental to smaller outfits.