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March 11, 2021updated 30 Sep 2022 10:06am

Dow Jones boss says Google deal ‘historic shift’ but ITN CEO says ad hoc deals not enough

By Charlotte Tobitt

The chief executive of Dow Jones has described the News Corp deal with Google as a “historic shift” and “just the beginning with much, much more to come”.

Almar Latour told Deloitte’s Media and Telecoms 2021 & Beyond conference that overcoming the “trust crisis” is a “key issue” for many businesses and that digital platforms are places “where trust from prospective customers can be made or broken”.

He said most new readers are introduced to news stories by platforms, which are not owned and operated by their publishers and are places where the “value, monetary and otherwise” of such content “was not always recognised”.

“Our premium content for example was seen as similar as content that did not fall into that category, making it harder for readers to recognise,” Latour, who is also publisher of the Wall Street Journal, added.

Latour (pictured) pointed to last month’s deal between Dow Jones owner News Corp and Google, which will see content from The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, MarketWatch, New York Post, The Times, Sunday Times, Sun, The Australian and news.com.au appear on the Google News Showcase in return for unspecified but “significant” payments.

[Read more: News Corp CEO says Google deal will give journalism industry ‘second wind’]

News Corp said the deal includes “the development of a subscription platform, the sharing of ad revenue via Google’s ad technology services, the cultivation of audio journalism and meaningful investments in innovative video journalism by Youtube”.

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Latour said on Tuesday that the deal means Google “recognises the value of our information” for the first time.

“It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement. It’s also a historic shift. For the first time, we can now have a dialogue on how to enhance premium content for readers and users and collaborate with Google to help promote that value and give more readers access to our premium content. So this is just the beginning with much, much more to come.

“Clearly not everyone has signed up for this yet but the precedent has now been set and that must give cause to optimism in our industry however cautious. We for one are excited.”

However ITN chief executive Anna Mallett said the current ad hoc deals Google and Facebook are making with publishers were not enough to ensure the long-term future of quality news.

“The current worldwide debate between tech platforms and social media titans and the creators of expensive professional news and information, is a crucial one for all of us who care about democracy,” she said.

“They need to settle on both a regulatory framework and a fair compensation system that will take us beyond the current ad hoc annual deals to ensure that quality news can be found and sustainably funded for the long term.”

Anna Mallett, chief executive of ITN. Picture: ITN

Mallett, who is leaving ITV News, Channel 4 News and 5 News producer ITN next month to join Netflix, blamed January’s riot in the Capitol in part on the US media system, which does not have public service broadcasters like the UK.

She said it showed “the role an unregulated partisan media can play in building a toxic environment where facts are discarded” and warned that “what happens in America may not stay in America”.

[Read more from Clive Myrie on GB News and impartiality: Andrew Neil is a good journalist (and Ofcom is watching)]

The BBC’s Clive Myrie shared a similar warning on Thursday, saying the riot was “partly the logical conclusion of a toxic media environment with no rules, promoting public distrust”.

“It was one consequence of a media free-for-all and was years in the making,” he said.

“And where there is a void of fact and truth and public trust, conspiracy theories can live and breed – even about a deadly virus, in the middle of a pandemic.”

Picture: Dow Jones

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