Google has issued an order against the Australian media asking it for hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation due to the capture of advertising revenues, claiming that the main part of these revenues was not linked to news sites. Californian group chief executive in Australia Mel Silva said Google was scarcely earning ten million Australian dollars (six million euros) in advertising revenue from news content, a fraction of what the company said. Australian competition authority.
Australia announced in April that it plans to force Google, Facebook and other digital giants to share advertising revenue from news content picked up by their sites. In the aftermath, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) estimated that Google and Facebook, together, made around six billion Australian dollars a year in advertising revenue in Australia.
Leading press groups have asked the two Internet giants to donate at least 10% of this amount to local media, which they say would be deprived of most of their advertising revenue because of the two groups. Silva said the figures were totally unrealistic. “We all agree that high quality information has great social value. But you also have to take into account the economy,” she wrote on a blog post on Sunday.
She said that in 2019, Google had garnered only AU $ 10 million in revenue from clicks on advertisements placed alongside news-related searches. “The bulk of our income does not come from news-related research but commercial research such as when someone searches for + jogging shoes + and clicks on an advertisement,” she said.
Silva also brushed aside the ACCC’s argument that Internet giants would derive significant “indirect benefits” from publishing news content because it would attract Internet users. The information “only represents a very small minority of queries” on Google, in this case barely 1% of queries last year in Australia on Google Search, said Ms. Silva.
She also replied that her group, on the other hand, contributed to promoting Australian information sites by directing a number of Internet users to them. “Quite simply, a lot of people (from Australia and beyond) are moving from Google to Australian news sites, which allows the media to make money by showing them advertising or selling them subscriptions. “, did she say.
Google Search, she said, was used 3.4 billion times in 2018 to access Australian news sites, a service that brought AUD 200 million to these media. This position does not bode well for the negotiations that the ACCC hopes to launch between Google, Facebook and the Australian media for the development of a “code of conduct” which would cover both revenue sharing, the fight against disinformation or the protection of privacy.
Silva said her company was ready to participate in these discussions but that it was crucial to “base decisions on facts, not on inaccurate figures or baseless claims”. ACCC has until the end of July to develop this “code of conduct”.