Googles Announces Licensing Program to Pay Publishers for News Content

Google is prepping a new news experience” to launch later in 2020 — for which the internet giant will finally directly compensate some publishers of “high-quality content” under a new licensing program.

A new report from Axios explains that the move marks a major departure for Google, which has until now steadfastly refused to compensate news publishers for content. As news organizations’ digital advertising revenues have plunged, critics in the media, and even many politicians, have been pressuring Google to pay to license content.

“Today, we are announcing a licensing program to pay publishers for high-quality content for a new news experience launching later this year,” says Google vice president for news Brad Bender. “We’ve heard loud and clear that we need to do more to support publishers around the world and that program is part of it.”

The company says it will pay publishers for in-depth content, and will also license paywalled articles on publishers’ sites to make them free for users to access. The service will be available through Google News and Discover.

Google plans to start with media groups in Australia, Brazil and Germany, with others to follow soon.

“This program will help participating publishers monetize their content through an enhanced storytelling experience that lets people go deeper into more complex stories, stay informed and be exposed to a world of different issues and interests,” Bender explains.

The tech giant has been fighting the news industry’s demands for compensation for years, in a battle that has taken on more urgency as the coronavirus pandemic caused advertising revenue at publishers to collapse.

In recent years, major platforms and tech companies have sought to strike partnerships with news publishers. Last year, Apple launched Apple News+, a subscription service that offers access to more than 300 publications. Facebook has also launched several programs for news organizations, including a recent $100 million USD fund to support struggling news outlets.