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Weekly Digest: Platforms and News Publishers

Welcome to The Fix’s weekly news digest! Every week, we bring you important news stories from the world of media – and try to put them in a wider context.

Key media outlets in Denmark have joined to negotiate payment deals with Google and Facebook over the platforms’ use of news content.

“The first attempt in Europe to collectively pursue claims with the tech giants”, according to Reuters, unites 29 media organisations. Their list includes major newspapers and state-funded outlets.

The outlets are starting the formal bargaining process today. For now, negotiations will be with Google and Facebook, with talks with other tech platforms potentially in the future.

The move comes in the wake of “[a 2019] EU directive [that] gave media rights to be compensated for links to their content by web giants in order to ensure better compensation for creators of news content”, according to The Local.

More from The Fix: French authorities clash with Google over paying for content / Weekly Digest: Tech Giants vs Governments vs Publishers  

Guardian Australia reached a deal with Facebook to licence its content for the social network’s News tab in the country.

As The Guardian notes, “Facebook’s News tab has yet to launch in Australia, but will be a dedicated news feed for journalism on Facebook, curated by Facebook staff.”

The parties don’t reveal the numbers. Seven West Media, a media company in Australia that reached a deal with Google in February, was reported to be set to receive over $30 million a year, though the company didn’t comment on the number at the time.

Earlier this year, Guardian Australia agreed to a content licencing deal with Google as well.

Facebook launched its newsletter service this week. Called “Bulletin,” the product provides a way for writers to publish free and paid newsletters. 

As The New York Times notes, “Facebook spent months recruiting dozens of writers across different categories — including sports, entertainment, science and health” and paid them upfront. Politics is notably absent from the topics. 

This launch is part of the newsletter boom that we’ve seen over the past year. With the growing success of Substack in the US (and the growth of its global ambitions), tech platforms have been making their way in the newsletter business. Most notable cases include Twitter’s acquisition of Revue and Facebook’s Bulletin. 

Unlike Substack and Revue, Facebook doesn’t take a cut of authors’ revenue for now. But Facebook’s biggest competitive advantage is the power of its ecosystem and the sheer number of people using the platform.

Recode highlights “Facebook’s… ability to target and segment people who might be receptive to reading and paying for a newsletter that covers topics they’re interested in” as “Facebook twist on the product.”

More from The Fix: Twitter buys Revue amid newsletter acquisition frenzy / The (mostly) bright future of newsletters  

Instagram will be testing a model of sharing ad revenue with publishers. The tests will focus on IGTV, Instagram’s platform for long videos.

As Axios notes, “it’s the first time Instagram is offering publishers a share of revenue for their content on its platform.” For now, the model will be tested with a small group of US-based publishers, including ATTN: and Group Nine Media.

In June, Instagram rolled out the program of sharing ad revenue with creators in general, offering them a 55% cut of revenue, the same rate as YouTube.

Photo by Shifaaz shamoon on Unsplash 

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