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Google to pay select publishers for paywalled news content

As part of its $1 billion investment in news, Google will start paying select news organisations for access to their paywalled content for its News Showcase program, the company said in a blogpost on Wednesday. 

Paywalls are a crucial part of some publishers’ revenue strategies, the company said. “To support that goal, we’ll pay participating partners to provide limited access to paywalled content for News Showcase users. In return, users will register with the news publisher, providing a way for the publisher to build a relationship with readers,” Google said. 

News Showcase has been presented as a feature that gives publishers (that have partnered with Google) more control over which stories they show to readers and how to present them. It went live in Brazil and Germany in October. Google revealed on Wednesday that it has roped in nearly 400 publications in Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Canada, France, U.K. and even Australia, while “ conversations are underway in a number of other countries”. 

In October, Google had plugged the News Showcase feature from Australia, declaring that the country’s proposed News Media Bargaining Code was “unworkable”. The draft Code proposes that Google and Facebook sit at the negotiating table with news publishers and strike an equitable revenue-sharing deal, which would ostensibly help the struggling news industry survive. In November, Mel Silva, Google’s vice-present in Australia in New Zealand, reiterated that it supports a Code, but not its current version. 

Stories will appear initially in the form of story panels on the Google News app on Android, and has now been expanded to iOS. It will be coming to news.google.com and Discover soon. “News Showcase metrics will soon appear in the Search Console so publishers will have more data to better understand which articles and topics users are responding to,” Google said. 

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Users will also be able to follow their own publishers. Publishers will be able to show users daily updates on important stories. “Relevant publications, both national and local, will also now be shown within the For You feed, plus in a dedicated area to discover new News Showcase publications within Newsstand on Google News,” Google said. 

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