News media bargaining code finalised as concessions are made

News bargaining code

• Plus responses to the news

The news media bargaining code legislation was signed off on today by a Coalition backbench committee. The ABC and SBS will now be included in proposed laws to force Google and Facebook to pay media companies for news content but the companies have also gained some concessions in their favour. 

One of the concessions achieved by Facebook and Google is that the code will be based on a two-way value exchange which means that the value the tech giants provide to news companies through referral traffic is to be taken into consideration when negotiating.

Another concession is an adjustment to the media companies giving advance notice of algorithm changes 28 days in advance.

This has been adjusted to only significant changes made by human intervention including policy decisions that affect how news media content is featured on the tech giants platforms.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg can table the legislation in Parliament as soon as Wednesday after it is presented to the Coalition party room on Tuesday, but won’t come into effect till 2021.

News Corps Response

News Corp Ausralasia executive chairman Michael Miller commented:

This important News Media Bargaining Code legislation is a significant step forward in the decade-long campaign to achieve fairness in the relationship between Australian news media companies and the global tech giants.
All we have ever sought is a fair commercial outcome and fair payment for the valuable news content our journalists create. I believe this code puts in place the framework for this to be achieved.
As a result of their lobbying, the tech platforms have won concessions, and there should be nothing stopping them now from reaching fair commercial agreements. Ultimately, this Code will benefit Australian consumers by helping sustain Australian news from Australian media companies.
I understand why, in the face of the Covid crisis, the code will not be made law this year as originally planned, and I look forward to working with all participants to have the code in place in early 2021.
I thank the ACCC, the federal government and other parties that have set Australia up to achieve this landmark piece of legislation.

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