Google announced on Wednesday it has signed licensing deals with numerous Italian media publishers to pay for news content, in the US tech giant’s latest move to tamp down media anger over lost advertising revenue.
It follows an agreement struck with some French publishers earlier in the year over “neighbouring rights”, which were introduced by an EU directive two years ago and call for payment for showing snippets of news content as part of internet searches.
Wednesday’s deal will give the Italian publishers access to the Google News Showcase programme, which sees it pay outlets for a selection of enriched content.
“Signed on an individual basis, these agreements represent an important step in Google’s relationship with Italian publishers by remunerating the publishers,” Google said in a statement.
Google News Showcase will be available in Italy in the coming months, it added.
Fabio Vaccarono, CEO of Google Italy, said “these agreements represent an important step forward and confirm Google’s commitment to Italian publishers”.
Among the publishers who signed deals were the RCS MediaGroup, Il Sole 24 Ore, Monrif, Citynews, Caltagirone Editore, Il Fatto Quotidiano, Libero, Il Foglio, Il Giornale and Il Tempo.
The head of Il Sole 24 Ore, Giuseppe Cerbone, said “remuneration for news, including the rights related to the distribution of digital content, is a front on which our publishing group is engaged on the front line”.
Urbano Cairo, CEO of the RCS MediaGroup, said “we are pleased to have signed this agreement, which governs the issue of related rights and acknowledges the importance of quality news and the prestige of our titles,” which include the Corriere della Sera newspaper.
Neighbouring France was the first EU country to enact the “neighbouring rights” law, but Google initially refused to comply. However after turbulent negotiations, the search giant sealed a deal with certain French publishers in January.
News outlets struggling with dwindling print subscriptions have long seethed at Google’s failure to give them a cut of the millions it makes from ads displayed alongside news search results.
Australia has aggressively pushed to force digital companies to pay for news content, and last month Google struck a deal to make “significant payments” to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.