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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