Breaking: French publishers extract € 60 million from Google

01 Feb, 2013

So the deal was made between the French publishers and Google. The French publishers managed to extract € 60 million from Google.

Here’s the victory tweet from the Elysée – which is the official Twitter account of French President François Hollande.

The tweet says “we’re proud to announce this deal, which is a first in the world”. That’s not entirely true, by the way. There’s already a similar deal between Google and the Belgian publishers. Google paid the Belgian publishers € 5 million to settle a dispute about linking to their content and indexing of snippets.

Here is the announcement at the Google blog, by Eric Schmidt himself:

Today I announced with President Hollande of France two new initiatives to help stimulate innovation and increase revenues for French publishers. First, Google has agreed to create a €60 million Digital Publishing Innovation Fund to help support transformative digital publishing initiatives for French readers. Second, Google will deepen our partnership with French publishers to help increase their online revenues using our advertising technology.

Google was under pressure from François Hollande, who had threatened publicly to push for a Google tax if Google didn’t settle with the French publishers.As you can see in the wording, Google managed to avoide admitting that it is paying an ancillary right to index the content of the publishers (which is what the German publishers are pushing for, and which is what Google needs to prevent at all cost if it doesn’t want to get swamped by publishers globally).

Here’s the first reaction from Frederic Filloux, digital manager at Les Echos, and privy to some of the details of the negotiations, wrote earlier that the publishers were negotiating a deal in the € 70 million range. It seems Google managed to negotiate that down substantially. In a Tweet, Filloux said today that the € 60 million is on a per-project basis, and that it will be spread over three years. That’s some strong negotiating by Google. But then, it had a very powerful argument – “we can stop linking to you”.


Schmidt also added:

This exciting announcement builds on the commitments we made in 2011 to increase our investment in France—including our Cultural Institute in Paris to help preserve amazing cultural treasures such as the Dead Sea Scrolls. These agreements show that through business and technology partnerships we can help stimulate digital innovation for the benefit of consumers, our partners and the wider web.


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Raf Weverbergh

Editor of whiteboard. Raf Weverbergh was a magazine journalist whose work appeared in magazines like Rolling Stone, Playboy, Mail on Sunday, Publico and South China Morning Post. He is the co-founder of FINN, a corporate communications agency where he advises startups and multinationals on their PR and Mustr, the easiest media database for PR professionals. You can contact him on Twitter, Linkedin or Skype (rafweverbergh).

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