Australia’s Seven West Media Ltd signs Google & Facebook deals after Media Law feud


Seven West Media Ltd, an Australian television and newspaper company, signed multi-year content deals with Facebook Inc and Google as tough new media laws enabled the industry to secure new revenue sources and adapt to the internet age.

The top-rated free-to-air broadcaster and publisher of Perth’s main metro daily announced on Monday that it would supply content for Alphabet Inc’s News Showcase platform for five years and a similar Facebook product for three. The terms of the deals were not disclosed.

The arrangements mean the U.S. ‘Big Tech’ platforms have agreed to pay two of Australia’s three largest traditional news outlets for content, reversing their position just two months after they had vowed to quit the country over laws requiring them to pay for the links that drive traffic to their websites.

Referring to the law that gives the government power to intervene if domestic media companies cannot reach an agreement with a large internet provider, Seven CEO James Warburton in a statement said, “These partnerships have been made possible by the introduction of the Media Bargaining Code.”

“They underpin our sustainability and enable us to continue to build our digital platform,” Warburton added.

In the last two months, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, which owns roughly two-thirds of Australian newspapers, has signed global deals with the platforms.

Nine Entertainment Co Holdings Ltd, which competes with Seven in free-to-air television and publishes the Sydney Morning Herald and Australian Financial Review newspapers, has announced a Google agreement but has yet to finalise arrangements with Facebook.

Many smaller Australian media outlets, including the state-owned Australian Broadcasting Corporation, have signed deals with Google or have stated an interest in doing so with Facebook, which blocked all third-party content in Australia for a week in February in protest of the laws.