Australia’s Nine strikes a Google media deal as licencing laws approach

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Publisher and broadcaster Nine Entertainment Co Holdings Ltd has agreed on a content licencing deal with Google, one of its newspapers reported on Wednesday, the second large Australian media outlet to strike a deal with the internet giant.

The Alphabet Inc owned company agreed to pay Nine more than A$30 million a year for its content, the Sydney Morning Herald reported, citing “industry sources”. The deal would be formally signed in the next two weeks, the newspaper said. A Nine spokeswoman declined to comment to Reuters.

A Google spokesman also declined to comment.

Nine would be the second major Australian media company to reach agreement with Google just as the country’s parliament prepares to pass laws giving the government power to set Google’s content fees.

On Monday, Nine rival Seven West Media Ltd said it had reached a deal that local media reported would also involve the U.S. company paying it A$30 million a year.

The Australian federal government has said it still plans to put the laws, which effectively force Google and social media giant Facebook Inc to strike deals with media companies or have fees set for them, to a vote in the coming weeks.

Seven smaller media companies, specialist websites and a regional paper, signed deals to have their content appear on Google’s “Showcase” news platform last year, but the country’s main metro outlets failed to reach agreements.

Several large domestic media players, including the local arm of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, which owns two-thirds of Australian newspapers, have yet to announce Google deals. A News spokesman was not immediately available for comment on Wednesday.

Media outlets around the world are trying to find a way to compensate for a slump in advertising revenue, traditionally their main source of income, which has resulted in widespread closures.

In January, the Reuters news agency, a division of Thomson Reuters Corp, struck a deal with Google to be the first global news provider to Google News Showcase.