CRA confirmed to negotiate with Facebook and Google for news content payments

Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) can collectively negotiate with Facebook and Google over payment for their member stations’ news content featured on the platforms following an ACCC authorisation.

The ACCC’s final determination gives CRA a period of 10 years to collectively negotiate on behalf of all of its members other than stations operated by Nine Entertainment Co.

ACCC Chair Rod Sims says: “This authorisation allows CRA to negotiate payment with Facebook and Google for its members’ news content, and for its members to engage in discussions with each other about those negotiations.”

CRA chief executive officer Joan Warner welcomed the decision saying it “provides us with the opportunity to negotiate fair compensation from Google and Facebook for access to the valuable local news and information radio stations produce.

“Negotiated outcomes will help sustain radio stations in Australia, many of which service small and local communities that have no other source of local news and information.”

These arrangements risk breaching competition laws without the ACCC’s authorisation because no digital platforms have yet been ‘designated’ under the news bargaining code. Designation automatically allows collective bargaining for news media businesses.

Sims says, “The news media bargaining code offers an opportunity for media companies to negotiate payment for their news content for use by the major digital platforms and provides an incentive for digital platforms to voluntarily conduct these negotiations in good faith.

 “To ensure more efficient and effective negotiations for payment for news content by digital platforms, the ACCC will continue to consider authorisation requests from groups of Australian news media businesses that produce public interest journalism.”

 This determination follows the ACCC’s decision to grant authorisation to Country Press Australia to bargain with Facebook and Google on behalf of its members on 5 August 2021.

The determination is available on the ACCC’s public register at Commercial Radio Australia (CRA).

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