Wednesday 10 February 2021 9:36 am

Google to pay UK publishers for news as global pressure mounts

Google has inked a licensing deal with more than 120 UK publications as pressure mounts on tech giants to pay publishers for news.

The launch of Google News Showcase, part of the company’s pledge to invest $1bn (£750m) in news worldwide, means publishers will be paid for excerpts that appear in its search results.

The previews, which will feature in Google News and Discover on iOS and Android, will direct users to the full article on the publisher’s site.

Google has signed deals with news brands including the Telegraph, Financial Times and Evening Standard, as well as local newspaper groups such as Archant, JPI Media and Reach.

“We welcome this initiative and its potential to give public interest journalism a more visible platform in Google,” says David Higgerson, chief audience officer of Reach.

“For us, public interest journalism thrives when it is not just about recording events but is of genuine interest to the public and is able to attract an audience that means it is sustainable.”

The feature gives users access to some paywalled content, which Google said would help drive subscriptions.

It comes after Facebook last month launched a similar news licensing service in the UK as the tech giants attempt to fend off pressure over payments to publishers.

Both companies have faced criticism for cashing in on ad revenue from news publishers’ content while also denying that they should take on the responsibilities of a publisher.

Regulators in Australia have outlined plans to force tech firms to pay news outlets for news, prompting Google to threaten to withdraw its search platform in the country.

MEPs drafting new EU rules cracking down on Big Tech are also said to be considering similar measures.