Facebook is teaming up with News Corp Australia just weeks after the country passed a groundbreaking law requiring tech companies to pay for news content.
The three-year partnership was announced on Monday. It will allow content from much of Rupert Murdoch’s local media empire, including The Australian newspaper, to be featured on Facebook News — a section of the platform that curates coverage from selected publishers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The agreement adds to a stream of new partnerships News Corp has signed in Australia in recent weeks.
Sky News Australia, a broadcaster owned by a local News Corp (NWS) subsidiary, has struck a separate deal with Facebook (FB), which “builds on an existing arrangement,” News Corp (NWS) said in a statement Monday.
Last month, the conglomerate — which includes much of Australian media and some UK outlets, as well as the Wall Street Journal and New York Post in the United States — also unveiled an agreement with Google (GOOGL).
The partnership allows News Corp’s US, UK and Australian publications to be featured on Google’s News Showcase platform. But it also is expected to include developing a subscription platform, sharing ad revenue and investing in audio and video journalism.
Google declined to share terms of that deal, but News Corp has claimed that it would receive “significant payments.”
News Corp is already collaborating with Facebook in the United States, where its publications are paid to be featured on the social network.
But the company had been pushing for new rules in Australia, where debate had been fierce about a media code that forces Big Tech to pay publishers for news shared on their platforms.
The debate came to a head last month, just days before the law was passed. That was when Facebook decided to ban news content in Australia in anticipation of the law, forcing the pages of media organizations and even some unrelated essential services to go dark. It eventually restored news content there after the government agreed on making some changes to the legislation.
Prior to that, Google had also threatened to pull its search engine in the country. It later took a different tack, inking partnerships with some of the country’s largest media organizations, including News Corp, to get ahead of the law.
News Corp had been one of the fiercest proponents of the law. The company was forced to cut jobs and shut down dozens of newspapers in Australia last year, saying that the blow from the coronavirus pandemic had been too great to withstand.
In a statement Monday, News Corp CEO Robert Thomson alluded to the firm’s longtime battle, arguing that “Rupert and [co-chairman] Lachlan Murdoch led a global debate while others in our industry were silent or supine.”
“This digital denouement has been more than a decade in the making,” he added. “The agreement with Facebook is a landmark in transforming the terms of trade for journalism, and will have a material and meaningful impact on our Australian news businesses.”
— Kerry Flynn contributed to this report.