Google has started making moves in India to avoid similar mistakes that the company made in Australia when it comes to Google News and revenue sharing with news publishers.
The winds of change ushered in by the News Media Bargaining Code in Australia have set upon their travails. And one of its causalities in the form of Google News Showcase, having already touched base in several countries around the globe, is now set to make its arrival in India!
In a development brought forward by media quarters, search giant Google is reportedly in talks with publishers to launch its News Showcase product in India. The details regarding the date of its launch or the publishers with which the company seeks to strike partnerships are not public yet. All expected in good time, the grand initiative from Google will see news publishers in India work with the tech giant to show their news content on the News Showcase.
The news of the landfall comes after the Indian Newspaper Society (INS) had written to Google to “properly share advertising revenues” for content published by newspapers. Clearly, on the heels of a deal Google struck with Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp to achieve precisely that.
On its part, even though the news of Google News Showcase finally coming on Indian shores is welcome, Google had made the announcement of the initial $1 billion investment way back in October 2020. Much before the eruption of the standoff with the Australian government.
Now that Google has made known of its intentions in relation to the News Showcase for India, the country will join a select list where the product has been rolled out.
Google News Showcase: Replicating A Successful Model
News Showcase, a program paying publishers to create and curate high-quality content for a different kind of online news experience, apart from its obvious launch in Australia has moved quickly around the globe.
The Google News Showcase, recently launched in the UK, is covering approximately 120 publications. In Argentina’s case, 40 Argentinian publications have been reported to sign up. Soon to launch in Italy and already taking Germany and Brazil under its wing, the service is now said to include content from over 450 publications worldwide.
The push for the ‘Journalism Competition and Preservation Act’ bill will no doubt see News Showcase unveiling itself in its homeland. As of now, News Showcase is available in the Google News app on iOS, Android, and mobile web, as well as Discover on iOS.
When getting to the bottom of it all, the move in India is in direct consequence of the ripples caused by the News Media Bargaining Code.
For the Indian contingent, the media outlets and publishers around the country would hope for some parity for their side being restored in the country too.
Being a digital gatekeeper with control over 80% of the world’s search markets, News indirectly generated $4.7 billion in revenue for Google in 2018. That is even when users often did not click through from search results to publishers’ websites, according to estimates in a 2019 study by the News Media Alliance, a trade association representing more than 2,000 newspapers majorly in the US but also globally.
Furthermore, Google’s generation of upwards of $100 billion in advertising revenue at the expense of publishers’ information has always rubbed those engaged in media services the wrong way.
While the graphics are telling, the News Showcase has been touted to be a success in all of the countries where it has been brought on board. Under the new respective guidelines encircling the service, India would be hoping to replicate it subject to the country’s online news publishing dynamics too.
The quick deployment in major countries around the world is also a stark contrast to Google’s previous tune. From threatening to pull out its services from Australia, Google has changed its tune to incentivize publications to its side.
In a show of goodwill, it had invited Australian independent dailies and other media outlets before the more prominent ones to be part of its News Showcase. It has been paying up tens of thousands of Australian dollars a month to the smaller news outlets to be part of the service.
The patch up through Google News Showcase is being worked through to be achieved in other countries too.
In France, Google has pledged to review the concerns and work with the nations’ regulator on commercial partnerships with French news publishers.
All in all, it seems as though Google is taking the remedial steps to work together with news publishers through the platform’s immense reach. And with its arrival all but sealed to be official soon in India, the opportunity is both for Google and the multitude of Indian news outlets to take advantage of. Let’s hope the effort continues in the right direction.
Stay tuned for more updates.