News Corp CEO Says Youtube, TikTok Should Pay Media Outlets for Content

News Corp Australia chairman said social media platforms had grown rapidly in recent years and thus should be included in the Code.
News Corp CEO Says Youtube, TikTok Should Pay Media Outlets for Content
News Corp Australia Executive Chairman Michael Miller during a public hearing at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, on Feb. 19, 2021. (Sam Mooy/Getty Images)
Alfred Bui
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News Corp Australia Executive Chairman Michael Miller has called on the federal government to include popular social media platforms in the News Media Bargaining Code to make those companies pay for Australian news content.

The News Media Bargaining Code, which took effect in March 2021, is a mandatory code of conduct that addresses the “bargaining power imbalances” between digital platforms and Australian news businesses, enabling the latter to bargain with the former over payments for putting up news on digital platforms.

While the treasurer has the power to subject digital platforms to the Code, no platforms have been designated so far.

However, the threat of designation prompted Google and Meta to strike commercial agreements with many news media organisations after the Code was introduced.

The government estimates that Australian media companies have received up to $200 million (US$130 million) from the deals so far.

In March 2024, Meta announced it would not renew the contracts, prompting strong objections from the Labor government and media outlets.

Meanwhile, Google is renegotiating deals with news businesses.

News Corp Boss Calls for Social Media Platform Inclusion

During a parliament hearing on June 21, Mr. Miller said the government should lift the exemption for YouTube and other social media platforms.

The News Corp chairman argued that those platforms had grown significantly compared to when the Code was first introduced.

“Over that period of time, Instagram, mostly through that video growth, has grown to a scale of significance,” he said.

“TikTok has also done so, and I think dangerously, in a very young-skewing audience where they are monopolising a big part of the most vulnerable audience in Australia, and of course, YouTube has grown over that period of time as well.”

While earnings from YouTube only accounted for 0.00003 percent of News Corp Australia’s total revenue, Mr. Miller cited that data from a study by the University of Canberra (pdf) showed the platform has become the second biggest source of news for Australians.

Mr. Miller said with the development of the social media landscape, it was necessary for major digital platforms to be included in the Code.

“The Canberra University report that came out earlier this week … shows the different platforms and how they’ve grown and changed their news over the last three or four years,” he said.

“While Facebook has come down a bit, YouTube, Instagram, X, Facebook Messenger, TikTok, WhatsApp, LinkedIn have all grown. So they should all be included.”

A smartphone and a computer screen displaying the logos of the social network Facebook and its parent company Meta in Toulouse, southwestern France, on Jan. 12, 2023. (Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images)
A smartphone and a computer screen displaying the logos of the social network Facebook and its parent company Meta in Toulouse, southwestern France, on Jan. 12, 2023. (Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images)

News Corp Boss Proposes Banning Meta

As the hearing continued, members of the parliament committee raised the issue that Meta could still operate in Australia even if it decided to pull out from the Code and end all contracts with news organisations.

In response, Mr. Miller said the government should consider creating an additional set of laws that require the company to adhere to Australian laws while remaining in the country.

“If they don’t want to play by our rules, I think we'd ban them, as other companies that don’t want to play by Australian rules and laws can’t operate here, whether it be mining companies, whether it be telcos,” he said.

“We have laws in place, and why do we give them that level playing field if they don’t want to play by Australian laws, [and] protect Australian values?

“We don’t want a situation where a social media platform can operate in the country, still be able to receive the benefits and revenue from operating in the country but thumb their nose at the code.”

Alfred Bui is an Australian reporter based in Melbourne and focuses on local and business news. He is a former small business owner and has two master’s degrees in business and business law. Contact him at [email protected].