Indian Newspaper Society asks Google to pay for news

INS members ask for 85% share of ad revenue

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The Indian Newspaper Society (INS) is engaged in discussions with Google
The Indian Newspaper Society (INS) is engaged in discussions with Google

The Indian Newspaper Society (INS) is asking Google to compensate the Indian newspapers ‘comprehensively’ for the use of content published by the newspapers and share its advertising revenues properly.

In a letter dated 25 February 2021 and addressed to Google India and its country manager Sanjay Gupta, the INS president L Adimoolam requested Google to pay for news generated by the Indian newspapers. The letter makes clear that the Indian newspaper industry collectively employs thousands of journalists and photographers on the ground at considerable expense. Apart from news gathering and verifying information, its editorial personnel process, curate, and present the news in context.

Since the content generated and published by newspapers at their considerable expense is proprietary, INS pointed out that this credible content has given Google authenticity in India ever since its inception.

The letter points out that publishers have been providing complete access to “quality journalism with credible news, current affairs, analysis, information, and entertainment.” It states there is a considerable distinction between the editorial content from quality publications and fake news spreading on other information platforms.

Google to pay publishers in France, the EU & Australia

INS noted that, over the past year, publishers worldwide have been raising the issue of fair payment for content and proper sharing of advertising revenue with Google. “It is also noted that Google has recently agreed to better compensate and pay publishers in France, the European Union, and notably, in Australia,” said the INS letter.

Further, the INS request pointed out that advertising has been the financial backbone of the news industry. However, newspaper publishers see their share of the advertising pie shrinking in the digital space, even as Google is taking a “giant share of advertising spends,” leaving publishers with a small share.

Publishers are also facing a very opaque advertising system, as they are unable to get details of Google’s advertising value chain. INS insists that Google should increase the publisher’s share of advertising revenue to 85% and ensure more transparency in the revenue reports provided to publishers by Google.

The INS has raised the issue of giving greater prominence to editorial content from Registered News Publishers to tackle fake news, as Google picks up content from several sites that are not credible, thus “amplifying misinformation and propagation of fake news.”

Pointing out that the INS is engaged in discussions with Google on these vital issues, the letter reiterated that the Indian print media is the most credible source of news and information in the country. And that newspapers play a crucial role in nation-building.

“However, the pandemic and the current digital business model have been unfair to publishers, making it unviable for the print media industry. We invest heavily in Journalism, the core of our news operations because newspapers play a vital role in society,” INS said.

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The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital 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.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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