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Google to start paying UK news publishers for content

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Google to start paying UK news publishers for content

Google is rolling out a plan to pay for news to the UK.

The web search giant, which has been under pressure to share digital ad revenue with web content providers that drive traffic to its services, said it has signed deals to pay licensing fees to 120 British publications, including The Financial Times and Reuters, through its Google News Showcase.

The program, which Google CEO Sundar Pichai in October said would help the company pay $1 billion to publishers over the next three years, has reportedly signed 450 news partners worldwide from Germany to Brazil.

It’s the first time Google will pay for news in Britain.

“Google News Showcase, our new product experience and licensing program for news, will begin rolling out with local, national and independent publishers in the UK,” said Ronan Harris, vice president and managing director at Google UK and Ireland, who unveiled the latest rollout in a blog post on Wednesday.

Google News Showcase allows publishers to decide which stories to showcase and how to present them and will even grant users limited access to material behind publisher paywalls.

“As part of our licensing agreements with publishers, we’re also launching the ability for readers to access select paywall content,” said Harris. “This feature will give readers the opportunity to read more of a publisher’s content than they would otherwise have access to, while enabling publishers to encourage readers to become a subscriber.”

Google, a unit of parent company Alphabet, is facing numerous antitrust claims in the US over its digital advertising and search products, including claims that it unfairly controls the market for digital ads required for news agencies and other digital content providers to survive.

Data tracker eMarketer estimates that the two companies will command over half of the entire digital ad revenue spend this year. Google is expected to pull in $50.2 billion or about 29.3 percent of the total US market while Facebook will make up $40.76 billion or 23.8 percent of the market in 2021.

Robert Thompson, CEO of News Corp., which owns The Post, has been on a years long mission to push tech giants like Google and Facebook to share more of their ad revenue with publishers whose help drive traffic to their sites.

In a Feb 4. earnings call Thompson said: “This has been an imperative for News Corp for far more than a decade – I gave evidence to the House of Lords in London on this very subject in 2007 – and it has been an imperative because we truly care about the social value of journalism and we believe that the social value has a commercial value.”

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Twitter to let users charge followers to see premium posts

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Twitter to let users charge followers to see premium posts

Twitter is branching out from advertising to find more ways to make money — both for itself and for its most prolific users, whether those are businesses, celebrities or regular people.

In an investor presentation Thursday, the social media company announced a new feature called “Super Follows,” which will let users charge for extra, exclusive material not shown to their regular followers. This can include subscriber-only newsletters, videos, deals and discounts. Users would pay a monthly subscription fee to access the extra content.

Twitter users — and the company’s investors — have long been asking it to launch a subscription-based model. This as a growing number of internet creators and influencers use tools like Patreon, Substack and OnlyFans to make money from their online popularity.

The subscriptions will also allow Twitter to tap into a broader range of revenue sources in a world where online advertising is dominated by a Facebook-Google duopoly. Twitter did not detail what percentage of the revenue it would share with celebrities and others who sign up paying subscribers.

“Exploring audience funding opportunities like Super Follows will allow creators and publishers to be directly supported by their audience and will incentivize them to continue creating content that their audience loves,” the company said in a statement.

Super Follows is not available yet but Twitter says it will have “more to share” in the coming months. Another coming product, “Revue,” will let people publish paid or free newsletters to their audience. There’s also “Twitter Spaces,” a Clubhouse competitor that lets users participate in audio chats. It is currently in private beta testing, which means it’s not yet available to the general Twitter audience.

The San Francisco-based company also said its revenue goal for 2023 is more than $7.5 billion, more than double its 2020 revenue of $3.7 billion.

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Twitter shares hit record high as it forecasts doubling revenue

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Twitter shares hit record high as it forecasts doubling revenue

Twitter said Thursday it expects to double annual revenue to at least $7.5 billion and reach 315 million users in 2023, sending its shares up more than 8 percent.

In an announcement ahead of its investor presentation Thursday, Twitter said it will increase the number of features it launches to increase revenue and users.

The social media network has struggled to add features as quickly as larger rivals like Facebook and smaller viral apps like ByteDance’s TikTok. But in recent months, it has made a push to launch new products, including an audio-chat feature similar to viral app Clubhouse.

Twitter said in a filing it expects to reach at least 315 million monetizable daily active users (mDAU), or users who see ads, by the fourth quarter of 2023.

Internationally, Twitter faces challenges in India, a rapidly growing market for social media use. The country plans to require social media companies to erase certain content and coordinate with law enforcement.

Twitter had previously refused to delete content connected to the farmers’ protests in India.

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Facebook exec withdraws from race for LA Times top editor post

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Facebook exec withdraws from race for LA Times top editor post

Anne Kornblut, a former Washington Post Pulitzer Prize winner who now works for Facebook, is the latest candidate to pull out of the race for top job at the Los Angeles Times, Media Ink has learned.

Kornblut withdrew her name from the running following a Feb. 19 report in the Wall Street Journal that LA Times owner Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong is exploring a potential sale, sources said.

Soon-Shiong, who acquired the LA Times, the San Diego Union-Tribune and a handful of weeklies for $500 million in 2018, has denied the report. But as The Post reported last week, it appears to be complicating the LA paper’s search effort with another candidate — Janice Min, a former executive at The Hollywood Reporter and Us Weekly — also withdrawing from the race.

Kornblut is currently head of curation for Facebook News, where she started as a director. Despite continued conflicts over the Mark Zuckerberg-owned social media network’s freewheeling approach to paying for news, her digital background was considered a big asset by the LA Times search committee, sources said.

Kornblut also has an impressive newspaper career, including stints at the New York Daily News, the Boston Globe and the New York Times. In 2007 she moved to the Washington Post, where she worked as a deputy assistant managing editor and oversaw teams that won two Pulitzer Prizes, including in 2014 for coverage of Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks and in 2015 for reporting on security lapses within the US Secret Service.

She could not be reached for comment. A spokeswoman for the LA Times said only that a search for a new editor continues.

The Journal report said Soon-Shong is exploring several exit strategies as his newspaper losses mount, including an outright sale, bringing in an investor and selling the San Diego paper.

Soon-Shiong, who rarely communicates with the press, tweeted Friday that the WSJ report was not true and that he was “committed to @latimes.”

Chris Argenti, president and COO of the parent company California Times, also splashed cold water on the report. “Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong and his family continue to invest in and plan for the future of the California Times which includes the LA Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune and do not plan to sell,” he said in a memo to the staff Friday. “It’s unfortunate that the Journal chose to publish the story and we’re sorry for any concern it may have caused.”

Also on the list, as The Post has reported, is ESPN’s Kevin Merida, editor-in-chief of The Undefeated sports blog. He did not return a call seeking comment.

The top job at the LA paper opened up in October when Norm Pearlstine said he would be stepping down as executive editor. He left the post mid-December.

In addition to financial losses, Soon-Shiong has been dealing with newsroom backlash over diversity issues, including allegations of pay disparities.

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