Google rejects demand for huge media payout

World | AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE 2 Jun 2020

Google has rejected demands to pay hundreds of millions in Australian dollars per year in compensation to Australian news media under a government-imposed revenue-sharing deal.

The company's top executive in Australia said Google made barely A$10 million (HK$52.1 million) per year from news-linked advertising, a fraction of a government watchdog's estimates for the sector.

In an effort being closely watched around the world, Australia is set to unveil plans to force major internet firms to share advertising revenue they earn from news featured in their services.

The country's competition regulator, the ACCC, has estimated that Google and Facebook together earn some A$6 billion per year from advertising in Australia. Leading news publishers have demanded the two companies pay at least 10 percent of that money each year to local news organizations, which they say have lost the vast majority of their advertising revenue to the global technology giants.

Mel Silva, Google's managing director for Australia, dismissed such figures as wildly unrealistic. "We all agree that high-quality news has great social value, but we need to understand the economics as well," Silva said.

According to Silva, Google last year earned just A$10 million in revenue from clicks on ads placed next to news-related search queries. "The bulk of our revenue comes not from news queries, but from queries with commercial intent, as when someone searches for 'running shoes' and then clicks on an ad," she said.

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