Seven West Media (ASX: SWM) has become the first major media network to formalise their digital transformation amid Australia’s media war, recognising the importance of Google in maintaining media integrity in this country and improving the future of our news landscape.
The agreement is yet to be fully formalised in its long-form but Seven and Google have confirmed the bulk of the details within the partnership which is expected to be inked within 30 days.
“This is a great outcome for Seven West Media and for Google. Our new partnership recognises the value, credibility and trust of our leading news brands and entertainment content across Seven and West Australian Newspapers,” said Seven West Media Chairman, Kerry Stokes AC.
“Their outstanding leadership on the implementation of the proposed News Media Bargaining Code has resulted in us being able to conclude negotiations that result in fair payment and ensure our digital future.
“The negotiations with Google recognise the value of quality and original journalism throughout the country and, in particular, in regional areas. Google is to be congratulated for taking a leadership position in Australia and we believe their team is committed to the spirit of the proposed code.”
The specific financial details around the partnership are yet to be disclosed but will be centered around the Google Showcase product which Google launched in Australia earlier this month.
For months, Australian media has been at arms with platforms like Google and Facebook that use news media content to increase their audience reach, with no financial benefit for the newspapers and television networks that produce the content.
Under a proposed bargaining agreement, it is widely expected that Google, which has threatened to shut off its search engine traffic to Australian news outlets, will pay a fee to publishers for their content.
“We are proud to support original, trusted, and quality journalism and are excited to welcome Seven West Media today as a major Australian publishing partner to join Google News Showcase,” said Mel Silva, Managing Director for Google Australia and New Zealand.
“Our partnership with Seven West Media sees us make a substantial investment in the future of journalism not just across the metropolitan areas, but importantly in regional areas too where titles like the Kalgoorlie Miner and the Harvey-Waroona Reporter are at the heart of the local community,
“Showcase has been very well received since its launch in Australia a little over a week ago with our publisher partners receiving one million views of their content in just eight days, demonstrating that Showcase offers a constructive path forward for publishers, readers, and Google.”
The partnership with Google, the first announced by a major media network, is another feather in the cap of CEO James Warburton who took on leadership of the embattled network when it was hemorrhaging money and struggling to maintain pace with other networks.
Since taking over leadership however, Seven West Media has undertaken a major transformation towards digital mediums and in-house content, driven by video-on-demand streaming and cost cutting. This formalisation with Google is another push towards Australia’s digital media future.
SWM shares responded well to the Google partnership to trade as high as $0.52 in the first hour of morning trade, a rise of 10.6% on their previous $0.47 close.