Google strikes payment agreement with six French news outlets

Removes years of uncertainty

Google campus Photo: Google

Google last week announced that it has agreed with six French news publishers to pay for content. The development comes after years of uncertainty for French publishers and the future of neighboring rights in Europe. Le Monde, Courrier International, L’Obs, Le Figaro, Liberation, and L’Express are the first named signatories.

“We have signed several individual agreements, which reflect the principles of universality, transparency, and respect for the law on which we rely in our discussions …,” said Google France chief Sebastien Missoffe on Google’s blog. The announcement comes about a month after a Paris appeals court ruled Google must continue to negotiate with French news publishers over “neighboring rights.”

“This advance makes it possible to remunerate press publishers in France under the law on neighboring rights, according to objective, transparent, and non-discriminatory criteria, such as the publisher’s contribution to political and general information, its volume publication daily, its monthly Internet audience, as well as the use of content on our sites,” Missoffe said.

Francis Morel, former chief executive officer of Les Échos/Le Parisien and former president of Syndicat Presse Quotidienne Nationale, said in an e-mail interview with INMA, “It’s the first time that Google has agreed to pay for the use of publishers’ content. That’s a very important act from Google and an important victory for French publishers: Google hereby admits, for the first time, that use of content implies payment.”

Alain Weill, president of L’Express, said in the Google statement, “This agreement covering
neighboring rights opens a new chapter in our collaboration with Google and allows us to offer Internet users a new enriched experience thanks to News Showcase.”

Louis Dreyfus, chairman of the management board at Le Monde, was also quoted in the Google statement, “We welcome this agreement signed with Google, which covers our neighboring rights and is part of a strategy to accelerate the transformation of our Group’s economic model. This agreement provides an additional source of funding for the development of Le Monde Group … while preserving the strict independence of our editorial staff, which is our main asset.”

The exact terms of the agreements have not been made public, but according to Le Monde, “The agreements cover neighboring rights to excerpts from articles now indexed in its general search engine and its news search engine (Google News), as well as the publication of content in its entirety.”

Also included in the Google statement was this comment from Marc Feuillée, chief executive officer of the Figaro group, “Discussions with Google have enabled us to agree on the remuneration of our neighboring rights and participation in News Showcase, a new service that will allow us to offer our Internet users an enriched experience on Google sites.”

Google said it is in negotiations with other national and regional dailies and magazines as well.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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