Google Launches French Media Fund

Google Logo NEW - H 2012

Google Logo NEW - H 2012

The search giant avoids new taxes with effort to help media companies increase ad revenue.

Google will launch an $81 million (€60 million) Digital Publishing Innovation Fund to assist French news organizations with their efforts to move their content online and to increase advertising revenues. 

President Francois Hollande and Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt announced the initiative as a compromise between the French government and press and the internet search giant over a royalties dispute. 

The deal brings to an end what Hollande characterized as “intense negotiations” that saw executives from French media companies and Google meeting several times a week since December. 

In true new media fashion, Hollande’s office announced the deal on Twitter and posted the details on the Elysee Palace’s website.  “France is proud to have reached this agreement with Google, the first of its kind in the world," said the tweet. 

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Cut out of the advertising revenue Google generates from indexing their content, French media companies wanted a new law requiring Google to pay for use of headlines and snippets of text featured on Google News and in its search results. In October, Hollande proposed a plan to tax the revenue Google made from posting ads next to content from French publishers, but Google threatened to stop indexing French sites if it started to be charged for use of the content. 

The new fund aims to increase revenues for French publishers and will help them “increase their online revenues using our advertising technology,” Schmidt said on Google’s official blog. “Our search engine generates billions of clicks each month, and our advertising solutions (in which we have invested billions of dollars) help them make money from that traffic."

The agreement will allow the media organizations access to Google advertising platforms such as AdSense and AdMob.

Other European countries are also looking to change the way Google uses media content.  Google reached a similar agreement with Belgian media companies in December, ending a six-year old suit that argued Google violated copyright by displaying the news snippets and linking to cached copes of their pages.  In November, German parliament drafted legislation that would require search engines to pay commissions each time they link to news content and photos. That legislation was passed to committee, which has yet to make a move on the law.