Tech giants such as Facebook and Google must be more transparent over how they use news content, the boss of publishing group Reach has said.
The social media companies have been embroiled in controversy surrounding their control over online media after Facebook blocked access to news in Australia.
Jim Mullen, who leads the publisher behind the Daily Mirror and Daily Express titles, today said that while news outlets benefited from deals with tech giants, more transparency was needed over the way they operate.
“We would obviously think that the publishers need to get a better deal and a far more transparent look at how platforms operate,” he said. “Both the platforms and the news publishers are better together… so we are constantly working with them.”
“But also we will lobby and speak to government about having at least a fair and transparent process with regards to media and advertising.”
Politicians in Australia have now passed new laws that will force tech giants to pay publishers for news after the two sides agreed to a series of amendments.
The changes grant the companies more opportunity to ink private licensing deals with publishers in a bid to avoid regulation.
Reach is one of a number of news groups, alongside Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, that has now signed agreements with Google and Facebook.
Mullin’s comments came after Reach posted a 13 per cent decline in operating profit to £134m in 2020, marginally beating analyst expectations after a tough year for news publishers.
But Reach, which also owns regional titles such as the Manchester Evening News, said both print revenue and digital demand had picked up in the second half of the year.
The company said its online registered users had risen to 5.8m, well on the way to its target of 7m by the end of 2022.
Reach has previously set out targets of increasing the number of readers who consented to handing over data such as email addresses to help boost its digital advertising.