Google to pay Canada publishers $73m a year to keep news in search

Google has agreed to pay publishers in Canada $73.6 million a year to keep links to news articles in its search results.

The search engine had threatened to stop serving news links in response to a new law that forces tech companies to pay for news content.

However, Google was able to strike a deal with the Canadian government before the rollout of the Online News Act, which is planned for Dec. 19, 2023.

Why we care. This landmark deal will come as a huge relief for news publishers in Canada. Had Google followed through with its threat to remove links to news articles in search, organic traffic would have been severely impacted, which in turn would have negatively affected the value of the publishers’ ad space.

Terms and conditions. Canadian Heritage Minister Pascale St-Onge said in a statement that the “single collective” paid by Google would be distributed to “a wide range of news businesses across the country, including independent news businesses and those from Indigenous and official-language minority communities.” He added:

  • “A sustainable news ecosystem is good for everyone.”
  • “The health of the Canadian news industry has never been more at risk.”

Although the Canadian government and Google have agreed to solutions to make both parties happy, the final regulations have yet to be confirmed.

What Google is saying. Alphabet president of global affairs, Kent Walker, said in a statement:

  • “Following extensive discussions, we are pleased that the Government of Canada has committed to addressing our core issues with Bill C-18.”
  • “While we work with the government through the exemption process based on the regulations that will be published shortly, we will continue sending valuable traffic to Canadian publishers.”

Meta maintains its opposition. Despite Google’s announcement, Meta is standing firm on its decision to remove news from Facebook and Instagram in Canada. Meta spokesperson, Lisa Laventure, said in a statement:

  • “Unlike search engines, we do not proactively pull news from the internet to place in our users’ feeds and we have long been clear that the only way we can reasonably comply with the Online News Act is by ending news availability for people in Canada.”

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Deep dive. Read Google’s concerns about Canada’s Bill C-18 in full for more information.

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