The maiden edition of the DNPA Dialogues, a conference hosted by the Digital News Publishers Association (DNPA), saw a high-value exchange of ideas between the country’s several leading media organisations and Australia’s think tank and antitrust regulatory circles.
The first-of-its-kind conference held online discussed the challenges faced by digital news industry vis-a-vis partnerships with tech giants such as Google and Facebook.
Rod Sims, former Australian antitrust stalwart, was the key speaker at the event. Sims, the former head of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), called for a legislated arbitration regime as a means to get the best out of the association between the tech majors and media.
“Google and Facebook did some side deals with some companies very early. Those companies who did the deals regret that. They think they did not get a very good deal. You can't be sure you are going to get an appropriate deal or appropriate compensation for your content being used by the companies unless you got that legislated regime sitting in the background. When you have that legislation in the background, it gives you the leverage with which you can get the deal you are comfortable with,” Sims told DNPA members.
Sims has played a key role in introducing Australia’s News Media Bargaining Code which made it easier for Australian news media to sign deals with tech platforms such as Google and Facebook.
He said Australia has witnessed a positive outcome from Google and Meta's deal with the leading media businesses in the country. He explained how the bargaining code helps to improve journalism.
In reply to a question by Pawan Agarwal, Managing Director of DB Corp Ltd, about the future of journalism, Sims highlighted the need for a legislation supported by all parties as well as media.
Echoing Sim’s views on the legislation on revenue sharing, Emma McDonald, Senior Policy Adviser at Minderoo Foundation, recollected how "tense and stressful" it was dealing with Facebook and Google while she was working with the Australian government. She said the legislation has brought positive changes in the Australian media industry.
Peter Lewis, Director at The Australia Institute, highlighted the rise in the quality of journalism brought out by the bargaining code. He said the media houses in Australia have 'good' quality articles and there is a hiring spree in media companies.
Paul Thomas, Managing Director, Star News Group, spoke on the rise in small publishers and the increase in profits triggered by the legislation. He was optimistic that the future is promising with the new media code.
The DNPA Dialogues marked the first instance of the digital arms of India’s top news publishers coming together to host a constellation of stars and stakeholders from government, academia, and industry circles to exchange ideas on steps needed to ensure Big Tech platforms deal with digital news publishers equitably and with transparency.
The second edition of the Dialogues will be hosted on December 9, also in webinar format.
The DNPA is a dynamic umbrella organisation for the digital wings of media businesses, having initiated proactive action in recent years to restore equality and fairness for all news publishers. The association represents 17 media publishers, including Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhaskar, Indian Express, Malayala Manorama, ETV, India Today Group, Times Group, Amar Ujala, Hindustan Times, Zee Media, ABP Network, Lokmat, NDTV, New Indian Express, Mathrubhumi, Hindu, and Network 18.