Recently, we blogged about the Australian government’s efforts to protect publishers from losses caused by major tech giants. This, of course, posed a big question among American publishers: What will tech giants like Google, Apple, and Facebook do to help publishers monetize their content?
The answer to this question is now a bit clearer. Late last week, Google announced a licensing program to pay selected publishers for online content. According to Gizmodo, details on the program—such as how the monetization will work, how publishers are selected, and how the content will be displayed—are still unknown.
What is known, however, is that problems remain between online publishers and ad-serving tech giants. Foremost is Google’s search engine algorithm. Many online magazines and media companies rely upon Google search engine traffic. Yet the algorithm that drives results is a corporate secret, and sudden updates greatly affect publishers’ traffic and rankings.
Additionally, Google and Facebook choose the publishers for their licensing programs. They make their decisions based on “quality content” parameters, which can be murky at best. And, once publishers are selected, the tech giants have control over the user experience of readers who interact with the licensed news content.
The New York Times Pulls Out of Apple News
The best known curated online news experience is Apple News. Despite its popularity, it’s not immune to turbulence. This week, the New York Times pulled its online content from Apple News. They cited two reasons for this move. First, it aims to increase its own subscriber base. Second, the company wants to take back control of its reader experience. Right now, Apple News does not send readers to publishers’ websites.
This news comes on the heels of the paper reducing the number of articles it supplies to Apple News and opting out of the paid tier of Apple’s program, Apple News+. Interestingly, the Times article cited above notes, “Times articles also appear in Google News, which sends readers to publishers’ websites, unlike Apple News, which generally keeps readers on Apple’s app.”
Revenue Generation for Publishers Is More Vital Than Ever
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