PE Ledger

With Google and Facebook Deals, an Australian Billionaire Will Assist Publishers

Forrest’s Minderoo Foundation said it would apply with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, the country’s competition regulator, to allow publishers to bargain without breaking competition laws.


Andrew Forrest’s philanthropic organization in Australia will assist 18 small news publishers in the country in negotiating license deals with Google and Facebook to supply news information.

On Monday, Forrest’s Minderoo Foundation announced that it would apply with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the country’s competition regulator, to allow the publishers to bargain without breaking competition laws.

Forrest is the director and shareholder of iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group and is Australia’s richest man. According to the Australian Financial Review, he is valued at roughly A$27.2 billion ($19.7 billion).

Since March, Facebook and Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., have been compelled to negotiate with Australian sources for content that generates traffic and advertising to their websites. If they don’t, the government may step in and take over the talks.

Both companies have since signed license deals with most of Australia’s major media organizations, but not with many small businesses. In March, the federal government will begin a study of the law’s effectiveness.

Frontier Technology, a Minderoo venture, claimed it would help the publishers.

“Small Australian publishers who produce public-interest journalism for their communities should be allowed the same opportunity as large publishers to bargain for the use of their content for the public good,” Frontier Technology’s Director of Policy, Emma McDonald, said in a statement.

A Google official responded to the project by resending an earlier statement that stated, “Talks with publishers of all sizes are ongoing.” “Facebook has historically encouraged smaller independent publishers,” according to the company.

According to McDonald, the 18 small publishers include online publications that appeal to a diverse audience and focus on local or regional concerns.

The action comes after the ACCC enabled a group representing 261 radio stations to negotiate a content contract late last month.

News organizations, losing advertising revenue to internet aggregators for years, have long complained about large technology companies exploiting content in search results or other services without paying for it.

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