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The Australian government is in the middle of a fight with Big Tech companies Google and Facebook over the future of news in Australia. What’s it all about?
In two words: advertising money. In the digital age, advertisers have increasingly shifted to Google and Facebook, which give them more bang for the buck than news sites.
With their advertising revenue falling off a cliff, and desperate to grow their reader base, news companies can’t refuse to sell stories to Google and Facebook.
On the other hand, the amount the tech giants pay doesn’t make up for the ad shortfall.
For every ad dollar spent in Australia, around 30 cents goes to Google and Facebook, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Both sides need each other: Google and Facebook need news providers’ content; news providers need Google and Facebook to point readers their way.
That should add up to a win-win situation that sees news sites getting paid what they’re worth. But the tech giants are in a much stronger bargaining position: If a news site doesn’t give them content, they can simply look elsewhere.
The Australian commission wants to introduce a code to make sure that the country’s media companies are not at a disadvantage when they bargain with Google and Facebook.
“The aim of the code is to address the uneven bargaining position between Australian news media businesses and the big digital platforms who have clear market power,” said Rod Sims, the commission’s chairman.
The two tech firms are fighting back in the war of words, threatening to withdraw from Australia. This may be an empty bluff, but other countries are sure to be watching what happens in Australia very closely. (T)
This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.