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Google News Showcase Launches in the UK

Tim Cross  10 February, 2021

Google has today begun rolling out ‘Google News Showcase’, its new product and licensing programme for news content, in the UK. News Showcase will see Google pay news publishers in exchange for republishing snippets of their content, as an effort on Google’s part to answer global calls from publishers to be compensated for content used by Google.

News Showcase is a separate product from Google’s regular news product (though it will sit within Google News, as well as Google Discover). News Showcase will see publishers create feeds highlighting specific stories, giving more detail than would usually be available in Google News. Readers will also be able to access select paywalled content within News Showcase, or to see more extensive previews of paywalled content than would usually be available within the publisher’s own site.

Over 120 publications in the UK have signed up to Google News. Major media brands signed up to the service include Archant, DC Thomson, Evening Standard, The Financial Times, Iliffe Media, The Independent, Midland News Association, New Statesman, Newsquest, JPI Media, Reach, The Telegraph and Reuters. The Daily Mail, The Guardian, and News UK are among the notable absentees.

Google says News Showcase will help drive more users to news publishers’ sites, and help them build stronger relationship with customers.

“We welcome this initiative and its potential to give public interest journalism a more visible platform in Google,” says David Higgerson, chief audience officer at Reach. “For us, public interest journalism thrives when it is not just about recording events but is of genuine interest to the public and is able to attract an audience that means it is sustainable. Google’s work here will help give readers a new way to discover news which is important to them, which they may not otherwise have discovered.”

But News Showcase hasn’t been embraced by all publishers. While the initiative does mean Google will begin paying for news content, those payments won’t cover the rest of Google News. That means publishers who don’t sign up to News Showcase still won’t receive payments.

When News Showcase rolled out in Australia last week, news publisher Nine chose not to sign up, saying it felt Showcase allows Google to set the terms of the partnership.

“This is what monopolies do, they put an offer, in the form of Google Showcase, but not offer to negotiate,” a Nine spokesperson said. “It has to be all on their terms and that is not an approach we will participate in, we support the legislation the government is proposing as the best way to secure a fair payment for our content.”

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