Skip to main content

Torstar Corp. have joined Google's stable of news outlets paid to supply the tech platform with content.Eduardo Lima/The Canadian Press

Google Canada added three more publishers, including Torstar Corp., to the stable of news outlets paid to supply the tech platform with content, a move that further isolates domestic media companies waiting for a federal government-backed solution to the dispute over content licensing.

On Tuesday, Torstar, publisher of the Toronto Star and six other Ontario newspapers; Quebec-based Le Devoir; and Les coops de l’information joined eight other news outlets including The Globe and Mail that signed an agreement in June to supply for a newly launched platform called Google News Showcase.

Google now has partnerships with 100 publications across Canada, the majority of which are local news services, as part of parent Alphabet Inc.’s US$1-billion global commitment to media companies.

Postmedia Network Canada Corp., one of the country’s largest publishers, and newspaper lobby group News Media Canada have pushed the industry to take a unified approach in negotiating with digital platforms, and are urging Minister of Canadian Heritage Pablo Rodriguez – who was reappointed on Tuesday – to enshrine revenue sharing in legislation.

“We welcome the reappointment of Minister Rodriguez, who we expect will move swiftly to introduce legislation within 100 days that would require digital platforms that generate revenues from the publication of news content to share a portion of their revenues with Canadian news outlets,” Paul Deegan, chief executive officer of News Media Canada, said in a statement on Tuesday.

In an interview, Google Canada managing director Sabrina Geremia said the company “is working collaboratively with the federal government” on new regulations around content licensing. She said the company continues to talk to potential Canadian partners for its platform, but declined to name the news outlets. Ms. Geremia said: “We have momentum behind Google News Showcase and we want that momentum to continue.”

Google News Showcase gives news outlets the opportunity to customize content within the platform’s news feed, and link to their own websites. Brad Bender, vice-president of U.S.-based Google, said publishers can establish their own brands on the platform, which allows ”new readers to recognize the media properties” and potentially attract new subscribers.

Google’s new platform also gives media companies an opportunity to sell online advertising around their stories. The service was first launched in Ireland, then introduced in Australia, Europe and South America, and is now operating in Canada. Google’s media partners also include Black Press Media, Glacier Media, Métro Média, Narcity Media, Saltwire Network, Village Media and the Winnipeg Free Press.

Google’s agreements with publishers come after a lengthy battle over content licensing with the likes of News Corp. executive chairman Rupert Murdoch and the Australian government, which ended with legislation to govern the relationship between the digital platform and news outlets that included provisions for compensation for the use of content.

Your time is valuable. Have the Top Business Headlines newsletter conveniently delivered to your inbox in the morning or evening. Sign up today.