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“The loss of this revenue would create a financial challenge for the ABC”

After hiring 60 journalists from Facebook / Google deals, ABC's David Anderson seeks to assure staff alarmed by a body blow from Facebook.

ABC hired 60 journalists for regional Australia following its deal with Facebook and Google but yesterday managing director David Anderson took steps to assure staff it would work with government to maintain those roles.

“Meta has announced today it will not be renewing its commercial deals for content with news organisations across the world. We are deeply disappointed by their decision,” Anderson wrote in a letter to staff.

“The ABC’s agreement with Meta expires later this year. This arrangement, together with a deal with Google, was concluded after the passage of the News Media Bargaining Code legislation and enabled the ABC to significantly increase its regional presence.

“The ABC was able to add 60 journalists to its regional workforce and expanded our presence in regional Australia by 10 new locations.

“I have spoken to the Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland and told her we welcome the Government’s statement that Australian news publishers (including the ABC) deserve fair compensation for the content they provide. I have been assured that the Government is committed to the News Media Bargaining Code and is seeking advice from Treasury and the ACCC on next steps.

“I understand that today’s announcement will be concerning for the ABC staff whose positions are supported by the revenue derived from the deals.

“The loss of this revenue would create a financial challenge for the ABC that would need to be resolved on a whole of ABC basis, and we will continue to work with the Government.

“The ABC remains absolutely committed to journalism in regional, rural, and remote Australia.

“We will keep you informed of any developments and given the revenue from Meta continues until later this year, we have time to assess the situation further before any decisions are made.”

Seven, Nine, Free TV and MEAA have also expressed concerns following the announcement by Meta which you can read here.

5 Responses

  1. ” I have been assured that the Government is committed to the News Media Bargaining Code and is seeking advice … on next steps.”
    Would Meta be breaking the law if they stopped paying for content? Basically, what’s stopping them from abandoning the agreement? Seems like they can do as they please.

        1. Ummm… The News Media Bargaining Code is a law designed to have large technology platforms that operate in Australia pay local news publishers for the news content made available or linked on their platforms.

    1. I guess their other option is they just won’t link to or reference any of their content in searches, cut it out of the equation and then they don’t have to pay. People can still go direct to their news sites but they won’t appear in searches cutting out the need to pay.

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