The Indian Newspaper Society (INS) has urged Google to compensate for the use of content published by newspapers and share its advertising revenues properly.
In a letter addressed to Google India country manager Sanjay Gupta, INS president L. Adimoolam demanded that Google pay for news generated by the newspapers, which employ thousands of journalists on the ground at considerable expense for gathering and verifying information.
The letter comes at a time Australia’s parliament has passed a law to make Google and Facebook pay media companies for content on their platforms. Many other countries are planning similar measures.
“Since, the content which is generated and published by newspapers at considerable expense is proprietary, the Society pointed out that it is this credible content which has given Google the authenticity in India ever since its inception,” the INS said in a statement.
Pointing out that publishers have been providing complete access to “quality journalism with credible news, current affairs, analysis, information and entertainment”, the INS said there was a huge distinction between the editorial content from quality publications and fake news that is spreading on other information platforms.
The Society said that over the past year publishers across the world have been raising the issue of fair payment for content and of proper sharing of advertising revenue with Google.
“It is also noted that Google has recently agreed to better compensate and pay publishers in France, the European Union and notably in Australia,” the INS said.
“Further, it was also pointed out that advertising has been the financial backbone of the news industry. However, newspaper publishers are seeing their share of the advertising pie shrinking in the digital space, even as Google is taking a ‘giant share of advertising spends’, leaving publishers with a small share,” the INS statement said.
“Publishers are also facing a very opaque advertising system as they are unable to get details of Google’s advertising value chain. The Society insisted that Google should increase the publisher share of advertising revenue to 85 per cent and also ensure more transparency in the revenue reports provided to publishers by Google,” the statement added.
“The INS has raised the issue of giving greater prominence to editorial content from registered news publishers to tackle fake news, as Google picks up content from several sites that are not credible, thus ‘amplifying misinformation and propagation of fake news’.”
Pointing out that the Society is engaged in discussions with Google on these vital issues, the letter iterated that “Indian print media is the most credible source of news and information in the country, and newspapers play a vital role in nation building”.
“However, the pandemic and the current digital business model have been unfair to publishers, making it unviable for the print media industry. We invest heavily on journalism, the core of our news operations, because newspapers play a vital role in society,” the letter said.