Google News Showcase Australia went live today. Why is it a big deal?

With the Google News Showcase now live in Australia, it could mean a life-saving change for small businesses. Find out why and how to help...

On Friday, 5 February 2021, Google launched the Google News Showcase. The Google News Showcase is designed to pay news media publishers for their content and give them support in the digital age.

Google had previously said they would not launch the News Showcase in Australia until the government had finalised their News Media Bargaining Code. This is the code that would make it mandatory for Google to pay news businesses to display their content in organic search results, as well as give them 14 days’ notice of any algorithm updates.

But why is the Google News Showcase being live in Australia such a big deal?

What is the Google News Showcase?

Google launched the News Showcase in late 2020, which creates a licensing program, paying publishers to host some of their stories in the showcase reel. Already used in France, Google used the News Showcase in their appeal to Australian Government about the detrimental effects the News Media Bargaining Code will have on the country.

Google had previously said they would pause this rollout until there was a result with the News Media Bargaining Code, but has done so today with the following Australian publishers:

  • Australian Community Media (ACM).
  • Schwartz Media.
  • Solstice Media.
  • The Conversation.
  • Private Media.

How is the Google News Showcase used in France already?

Google is not new to governments from around the world intervening with their practices. In January 2021, the French Publishers Industry Group reached an agreement with Google to negotiate payments for news content. 

The payment would be based on clear factors, such as how the information contributes to political and general information, volume of readers the publication receives and monthly audiences. All money would go directly to the publisher and covers copyright licensing required for publishers to participate in the Google News Showcase

France already has an agreed 120 media publishers included, with Google agreeing to pay them AU$142 million over the next three years.

How could the Google News Showcase impact the News Media Bargaining Code?

What is the News Media Bargaining Code?

The draft News Media Bargaining Code will essentially see Google and other digital platforms have to pay and give advantages to news media businesses. This includes:

  • Paying news sources for any use of their content, including showing them in search results. 
  • Giving news publishers 14 days’ notice of certain algorithm changes and ‘internal practices’.
  • Allowing news publishers to bargain for how news is displayed in their results.
  • Having to refer matters onto a mediator or arbitrator if they are not agreed on between the digital platform and the news business.

Why the Google News Showcase impacts the News Media Bargaining Code.

The Australian Government’s agenda for creating the News Media Bargaining Code is supposedly to allow news media publishers a fair advantage in advertising against large digital platforms, like Google and Facebook. Despite a study by Google finding the decrease in advertisers to news publishers is niche websites, like realestate.com.au, carsales.com.au and similar, the government is targeting organic and paid platforms, like the aforementioned.

As a solution, and one they have been working on with other countries, Google presented the Google News Showcase to the Australian Government. This platform would allow for news businesses who meet criteria that benefits the general public to receive monetary compensation for some of their content, as well as support in the digital world.

You’ll now see when you Google a topical subject a newsreel at the top of your search results. This is part of the Google News Showcase. Supporting this feature will potentially help provide additional evidence for Google to present to the government about this feature working.

Why is it important the News Media Bargaining Code does not go ahead?

We have published several articles on this topic already, so if you are interested, check out:

However, the basics are this:

  • With news businesses receiving 14 days’ notice of Google updates, Australian businesses will already be behind in competing for organic search results.
  • Google users will no longer have the confidence their search results are the best content as it will become who simply paid the most.
  • Google may shut down their services, including their search engine in Australia, hurting Australian businesses relying on ranking their businesses.

If you are concerned about your website’s future, please don’t hesitate to speak to our team at Localsearch. We’ve been helping Australian businesses for more than 28 years, and would love to help you future-proof yourself also.

For all media enquiries, please contact Sarah Russo, Senior UX Content Writer, [email protected].

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