Stock Groups

Facebook wraps up deals with Australia media firms, TV broadcaster SBS not included By Reuters


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: This illustration, taken February 18, 2021 shows the Facebook logo and Australian flag. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

By Byron Kaye

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:) has told Australian publishers it has stopped negotiating licencing deals, an email to the industry seen by Reuters showed, a move which came just six months after the passing of a law designed to make tech giants pay for news content.

Facebook has already announced partnerships with the majority of country’s major news organizations, but some media companies, including SBS TV Broadcasting Service, have been overlooked, raising doubts about the law’s effectiveness.

SBS (Special Broadcasting Service) is one of five Australian national broadcasters free to air. It provides the nation’s primary source for foreign-language news and has stated that Facebook refused to negotiate despite many months of efforts. It stated that it had concluded a contract with Google (NASDAQ):

A spokesperson for SBS stated that the outcome was against the government’s intent to support public interest journalism and, in particular, include public service broadcasters within the Code framework in respect of remuneration.

Andrew Hunter, Facebook’s regional chief of news partnerships, stated in August that the company had “now completed” agreements where it would pay Australians to produce content for its newly launched “Facebook News.” channel.

Hunter said that even if rejected, publishers would still benefit from Facebook clicks and recommended that they seek out a new program of industry grants.

It hasn’t been published.

Hunter didn’t comment on the email or the SBS remarks but said in a statement to Reuters that content deals were “just one of the ways that Facebook provides support to publishers, and we’ve been having ongoing discussions with publishers about the types of news content that can best deliver value for publishers and for Facebook”.

U.S. social-media giant, Twitter, has struck deals with many Australian major media companies like News Corp (NASDAQ) and Australian Broadcasting Corp. There is also a collective bargaining agreement with rural media publishers. Only a few smaller and independent publishers have made deals.

As reported previously by Reuters Facebook rejected to enter into a partnership with Conversation. Conversation is a publication of public affairs commentary from academics. The regulator that drafted this law rebutted. On Wednesday, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission did not comment.

The law required Facebook to temporarily block third-party content in newsfeeds across the country. Facebook and Google had to negotiate with media outlets to ensure that content driving traffic to their website was not blocked. Otherwise, government intervention could be possible.

Before any intervention by the government can take place, however, the federal treasurer must first determine that Facebook and Google did not negotiate in good faith. This step is called “designation”. Unavailable for comment was a representative of the treasurer.

Australian Communications and Media Authority will assist in enforcing the law. However, they declined to comment because there was no designated technology company that would be able to prove the law didn’t technically apply.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. CFDs include futures, stocks, indexes and Forex. Prices are provided not by the exchanges. They are instead provided by market makers. Therefore, prices can be inaccurate and differ from actual market prices. These prices should not be used for trading. Fusion Media is not responsible for trading losses that may be incurred as a consequence of the use of this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Trading the financial markets is one of most risky investment options. Please make sure you are fully aware about the costs and risks involved.