Media outlets Nine Entertainment, News Corp and Seven-West are brimming with cash from Facebook-Google deals

Nine chairman Peter Costello speaking at the company’s annual general meeting on Thursday. Dominique Lorrimer

Nine Chairman Peter Costello, speaking after the company’s annual general meeting on Thursday, praised how the code has worked so far. Nine is the publisher of The Australian Financial Review.

“I think the legislation has worked, I think it has been valuable for both parties. I think it’s well thought out legislation … and obviously we support its continuation,” Mr. Costello said.

“It’s a valuable deal for us and we’re fulfilling it and they’re fulfilling it and everything is going as agreed.”

The exact details of the agreements are confidential, but former ACCC chairman Rod Sims – the architect of the code – has publicly estimated that they are worth around $200 million a year to the industry.

Recent market revelations and sources familiar with some of the deals suggest that major publishers such as Nine, News Corp and Seven West Media are each earning tens of millions of dollars a year from deals with Meta and Google.

A person who brokered some of the deals estimated that Nine was worth between $40 million and $60 million a year, while Seven West Media’s deal was worth around $30 million. The ABC deals were worth about $12 million a year, the person said.

“Nine-digit” agreement

News Corp CEO Robert Thomson has previously said his company has seen “nine-figure” revenue from deals in Australia and the US with major tech platforms.

Speaking to analysts after the quarterly results on Wednesday, Mr Thomson reiterated that the deals help the company weather the current uncertainty in the broader market.

“Despite the macroeconomic uncertainty, having streamlined and digitized our business and entered into substantial agreements with major technology platforms to compensate us for our high-end journalism, we are better equipped to generate growing value for our investors,” said Mr. Thomson.

News Corp Chief Executive Robert Thomson. PA

Meta’s deals are meant to last three years, while Google’s were for a five-year period. This means Australian publishers should seek an audience with US Meta executives over the next 18 months to renegotiate.

But sources at Meta and in the media industry say the social media giant and the Metaverse company are reluctant to extend the deals.

Meta executives are said to be wary of encouraging other countries to follow Australia’s lead and pass laws that would force big tech companies to pay annual fees to publishers to deliver news content to platforms. .

Automating

In mid-October, Meta told Canadian news outlets that their content could be removed from Facebook if the government introduced rules similar to Australia’s media trading code.

Last month, Meta also confirmed that it would transform its Facebook News product, where news content from Australian publishers appears, abandon the use of human editors and become fully automated. Publishers fear this is part of a strategy to avoid new legislation in this area.

Mr. Costello said Nine wanted to extend the existing agreement for access to the company’s news content.

“[The agreements have] a particular lifespan and it will have to be renegotiated,” Costello said. “You can’t say what those negotiations will be now, but we really want to renegotiate them.”

Edmund Tadros owns shares in Nine and News Corp.