Call it what you like, ‘frenemy’ Facebook has agreed to hand over some of its profits to more of Australia’s regional publishers, just as regulator the ACCC – which takes credit for enabling the deals – is chasing the social giant over potentially misleading advertising.
Various reports describe the content deals in different ways, many trade publications reporting that the social giant will “help financially support” regional newsrooms.
Country Press Australia says it has signed a ‘letter of intent” with Facebook, leading the way to a multi-year agreement to provide an innovation fund to support newsroom sustainability and digital transformation.
CPA had been given a “draft determination” by the ACCC allowing it to negotiate on behalf of the more than 160 newspapers it represents.
New president Andrew Manuel said the funding would help sustain original public interest journalism in the multitude of regional and local communities serviced by CPA members, thanking Facebook and its negotiating team for the “constructive discussions over many meetings” that led to the announcement.
Facebook’s ANZ news partnership lead Andrew Hunter said the “funding support” would help CPA continue to build its digital platforms and reach new audiences. “We are continuing to invest in programmes to support Australian journalism and build sustainable business models. Our agreement with CPA furthers our work with small rural newsrooms.”
Everyone's being very polite about it, but voluntary or otherwise, chairman Rod Sims says the deals secured by “the majority of local media companies” would not have been achieved without the government’s media bargaining code, formulation of which led to Facebook shutting down its Australian service earlier this year.
Guardian Australia is also reported to have signed a deal with Facebook, joining others including Australian Community Media, covering mastheads isuch as the Canberra Times, Newcastle Herald, Bendigo Advertiser, The Advocate (Launceston), Katherine Times and Illawarra Mercury (Wollongong).
Pictured: CPA president Andrew Manuel from SA’s Plains Producer (right) with Bruce Ellen (Latrobe Valley Express), who he succeeded on July 1