Google To Pay For News; Facebook To Block Australia From Sharing News

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News Deals

Google may have threatened to leave Australia if the government forced tech platforms to pay for news, but the search giant is suddenly showering money on its most demanding critics. The New York Times reports that Google – the dominant search engine in Australia – has struck deals with two media companies worth tens of millions of dollars ahead of groundbreaking legislation expected to pass either this week or next. Another, with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., was announced on Wednesday in a three-year partnership that includes content from The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, MarketWatch and The New York Post. Google will sell those news products for Google’s curated news platform, Google News Showcase. Business Insider reports that Google has reportedly struck a $30 million deal with Australian broadcaster Nine Entertainment. 

Faceblock

Facebook, however, isn’t having it. Per The Verge, the company has decided to block both Australian users and media companies from sharing links to news articles and related content on its main social network, saying that the proposed law “fundamentally misunderstands the relationship between our platform and publishers who use it to share news content.” Media companies have complained for years that they are not fairly compensated for articles and other content that generate ad revenue for platforms like Google and Facebook. Google’s rush to pay up in Australia shows how regulation in a relatively small country – or just the threat of it – can dramatically alter the behavior of a global tech behemoth. The question is how far other governments will go in compelling tech platforms to pay for news. Read on

Complaint Box

The antitrust complaints against Big Tech just keep piling up. “Fortnite” game developer Epic Games has filed an antitrust complaint against Apple in the European Union, broadening its continuing legal battle after filing similar lawsuits in the U.S., Australia and the U.K., per the Wall Street Journal. The dispute is over how much control and revenue share tech giants should have in relation to popular apps. “Fortnite” was kicked out of both Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store last year after Epic introduced a payment system that effectively cut off both companies from the 30% share of users’ spending that they had charged Epic. Epic has sued both Apple and Google for alleged monopolistic behavior in the United States, and Apple countersued. In Europe, Epic’s legal complaint joins plaintiffs including music-streaming service Spotify Technology SA that have prompted a formal investigation into Apple’s alleged anticompetitive behavior. “What’s at stake here is the very future of mobile platforms,” said Epic founder and CEO Tim Sweeney. “We will not stand idly by and allow Apple to use its platform dominance to control what should be a level digital playing field.”

Testing Phase

YouTube wants to appeal to the cool kids using TikTok by rolling out a rival platform for shorter-length videos, Shorts, which it will begin testing in the US next month. Business Insider reports that a beta of Shorts will appear for users in March. YouTube Shorts lets users snap and upload videos of 15 seconds or less. Google began beta-testing the feature in India last September. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki also announced last month that YouTube would look to expand Shorts to other parts of the world this year, though the US could be a tougher market to crack, since TikTok was banned in India. And TikTok isn't YouTube's only competition – Facebook also has a short-form video feature for Instagram named Reels. Unlike TikTok, however, neither Instagram Reels nor YouTube Shorts have standalone apps, but are baked into the interface. Related: Fast Company speaks with YouTube’s product chief Neal Mohan about plans for 2021.

But Wait, There’s More!

Botco.ai, a leading HIPAA-compliant conversational marketing solution, announced $2.2 million in seed funding to drive product development, including integrations with electronic health record systems and marketing automation platforms. [release]

Pixalate, a global ad fraud intelligence and marketing compliance platform, has released the industry's first CTV app-ads.txt reports for Roku apps and Amazon Fire TV apps. [release]

Media dollars see-saw between Apple iOS and Google Android devices ahead of IDFA. [Digiday]

AdsWizz SDK has been certified for audibility by IAB Tech Lab. [release]

TikTok breaches users' rights and fails to protect children from hidden advertising, according to a consumer group's complaint to the EU. [Business Insider]

“LinkedIn on audio steroids”: marketers flock to the Clubhouse app to tout their expertise – and brands. [Ad Age]

Facebook launches a new site to help app marketers deal with the coming IDFA changes. [Social Media Today]

An alliance of mobile ad tech companies led by Liftoff is coming together to address the concerns of mobile app and game marketers in a post-IDFA world. [VentureBeat]

You’re Hired!

Spark Foundry hires industry vet Jason DaWayne Smith as president, diversified investments. [Adweek]

Target names Cara Sylvester new CMO amid management shuffle. [Ad Age]

Admix appoints former Dentsu Aegis Network CEO Nigel Morris to its board and names former GroupM CEO and global CDO Rob Norman as a senior adviser focusing on the Americas. [ExchangeWire]

Moloco, a provider of machine learning and growth solutions for mobile marketers, names Greg Silva as VP of People Operations. [San Francisco Business Times]

Discovery hires former Hulu marketer Patricio Spagnoletto as streaming CMO. [Deadline]

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