Google and other technology giants should ensure more transparency about the revenue that publishers of news content receive, chairman of the digital committee of Indian Newspaper Society, Jayant Mammen Mathew, has said.
While speaking at a programme held on Rajya Sabha TV, to discuss the ongoing tussle between Google and news outlets, Mathew said news publishers should get at least 85% of the total advertising revenue.
“None of the newspapers and content producers know the exact share of the advertising revenue they are getting. The whole advertising ecosystem is extremely opaque. At the end of the month, we just get a consolidated cheque. We don’t know if this is 40% or just 10% of the total revenue. So, we are asking for some kind of transparency because it is our content at the end of the day,” Mathew said.
The Indian Newspaper Society had on Thursday written to Google, asking it to compensate Indian newspapers comprehensively for the use of their content, and to share details of its advertising revenues.
“We, at the Indian Newspaper Society, are basically saying that it is primarily our content that provides authenticity on Google and Big Tech platforms. It is our proprietary content that powers these search engines. So, we are saying publishers should be compensated much more than the advertising revenue it is getting. Publishers should get at least 85% of the advertising revenue. Moreoever, during the search, only links of credible news sites should come up,” Mathew said.
He added that over the last couple of decades, the emergence of Google and other tech giants has changed the revenue and business models of newspapers. Publishers of news are, in return, only asking for a fair price for the content they produce, he said.
Journalism takes a huge amount of resources but in the digital area, almost 80% of advertising revenue goes to these big tech platforms, he said.
“Australia has the news media bargaining code which states that a certain portion of the advertising revenue has to be shared with content providers. French courts have recognised that the news link or the snippet that appears online belongs to the publishers and they can get compensation for that. In India, we have started the process and we have to see how best to go about it. We are hopeful that Google will be very proactive and agree to compensate all publishers,” Mathew said.