Making Google and Facebook hand money to a few millionaire media owners won't save journalism in Australia.
All it'll do is make it harder for small businesses to afford to get the word out about their products or services.
Media moguls don't care about them. But the rest of us should.
The Greens and the Liberal Party are on exactly the same page when it comes to the proposed news media bargaining code. That's rare enough to take notice of.
The code makes Google and Facebook pay big news companies when they include a link in their search results or their social media feeds.
The Greens and the Liberals like it because it's being sold as a way to support journalism. More money for media companies means more money for journos, in theory.
But it's a really, really bad idea.
You and I aren't the customer for Google. Google sells advertising space to advertisers, and the only reason the advertising space has any value is because Google also gets people to see it.
The better the service Google provides us, the more of us use it, and the more of us that use it, the more advertising we see. It invests heavily in making our digital lives easier, because that's the only way it is able to get us in front of advertisers. It sells the space to advertisers, and that's how it recovers the cost of delivering its services to the rest of us.
The customer is the business that advertises in that advertising space. The average Google business advertiser spends $30 a day to get there.
A small business could advertise non-stop on Google, for four months, for the same price as a newspaper ad, for one day.
Google has market power. If Google's got to hand money to News Corp or Nine, it's got the market power to put up prices too.
That means it could just put up the price of digital advertising.
Big media companies don't care about that. You know who does? Small companies, who rely on Google's products to make a dollar themselves. There's over one million of them in Australia, and they're all being thrown under the bus so News Corp can pay for another TV streaming service.
No journalists employed in that, are there?
If we want Facebook and Google to pay for journalism, tax them, and use the tax to pay for journalism. That's how we fund schools, roads, hospitals. We don't make Google write cheques to build roads. It's ridiculous.
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