In April, French regulators ordered Google to help develop a system to reward the country’s news outlets with licensing fees when portions of their stories are displayed on the tech giant’s news tab or in its search results.
The decision was hailed as a triumph for publishers by those favoring government action to compel such arrangements—including, as it turns out, the head of Canada’s largest news industry trade association.
“To me, this is an important victory symbolically, because it shows everybody that there is a way to do this,” John Hinds, the CEO of News Media Canada, told the Financial Post at the time. “But it also shows that the way to do this is you need government to take a firm hand and to show some leadership.”
Last week, Erin Finlay, a partner at a Toronto-based entertainment law firm, registered to lobby on behalf of News Media Canada over the country’s Copyright Act “with respect to copyrights and remuneration rights for news media organizations,” according to public information filed with Canada’s Office of the Commissioner of Lobbying.
This comes days after Canada’s Heritage Minister, Steven Guillbeualt, said on a live-streamed panel that “those who benefit from the media content of our news and information agencies in Canada should be paying their fair share,” adding that publishers need “longer-term solutions” than government funding or tax credits, and that the Canadian government is “looking at” similar actions to those taken in France and Australia and “will be coming up with something in the fall.”
Currently suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Parliament is expected to resume regular sessions in September.
Meanwhile, back in the U.S., organizers of an ongoing advertising boycott of Facebook universally panned a conference call with the company’s top executives Tuesday that was intended to assuage their concerns over its approach to hate speech on its platforms.
Skift Launches Membership Program, Metered Paywall
On July 1, Skift, the B2B media company serving the travel industry, became the latest publisher to implement a digital paywall with the launch of “Skift Pro,” an annual, subscription-based product priced at $135 per quarter, $365 per year or $595 for two years.
More than simply a digital subscription, however, the company is positioning Skift Pro as a membership service, offering not only unlimited access to its articles, but also an exclusive weekly newsletter, a 15% discount on registration fees to Skift events and quarterly, members-only conference calls with Skift editors.
As a result of the launch, non-members are now limited to three free articles each month before maxing out a metered paywall—far more restrictive than the meters of generations past, but more or less in line with an industry standard in recent years that seems to have settled around three to five freely accessible articles per month, on average.
“Three stories was a good place to start based on what we know about our readers’ behaviors and what our end goal is, and that’s to convert travel industry pros into members,” Skift‘s co-founder and chief product officer, Jason Clampet, told Folio: on Wednesday. “We know that some readers are just stopping by for a story about the dismal state of U.S. tourism or an inspiring business story out of Asia. But many readers come multiple times a week because we help them do their jobs better. That’s our focus.”
Clampet says setting the metered paywall at three articles also affords some flexibility, and that his team will be closely monitoring engagement among both members and non-members to determine whether any adjustments are necessary.
“On the membership side, we want to make sure Skift Pro subscribers are engaged with the stories as well as with the other parts of membership, like webinars,” Clampet said. “Members made a big investment in us, and we’re serious about not letting them down. On the prospecting side, we are watching what happens when readers hit that wall: Are we losing them, or converting them? We’ll make improvements to give us a better shot of making the latter happen.”
Click here for more on the strategy and thinking behind Skift Pro, courtesy of Digital Content Next.
Omeda Acquires Knowledge Marketing’s Clients
Omeda, a Chicago-based provider of data management and marketing automation software to publishers, has reached an agreement with Ignite Technologies, parent company of competitor Knowledge Marketing, under which Knowledge Marketing’s clients will be transitioned onto Omeda’s platform over the coming weeks.
The two companies will work together, they say, to ensure a smooth transition onto Omeda’s platforms, which Omeda says currently serves more than 120 publishing clients and deploys more than 4.5 billion emails each year.
“Omeda’s platform can immediately help KM clients capitalize on their customers’ audience data and execute all activation efforts under a single platform,” said Omeda CEO Aaron Oberman in a statement. “While there are many point solutions in the market, Omeda’s end-to-end platform provides our clients with an actionable marketing database designed to drive engagement and revenue.”
Meredith Pledges $500K to Promoting Racial Justice
On Tuesday, Meredith Corp. announced that it was donating $100,000 each to five non-profit organizations as part of the company’s commitment to advancing equality and social justice.
Selected by a group of employees from the company’s diversity and inclusion committee, the five organizations are the Equal Justice Initiative, the Innocence Project, the NAACP Foundation, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the National Urban League.
Additionally, Meredith says it’s donating $2 million worth of advertising inventory to the Ad Council’s “Love Has No Labels” campaign, a five-year-old program promoting acceptance and inclusion regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age or ability.
Last week, the publisher announced a new companywide content initiative titled “Reasons for Hope in America.” Running across all of its print magazines, online channels and even its 18 local TV stations, Meredith pays the new initiative “pays tribute to the nation’s ingenuity, optimism, and pursuit of equality during these challenging times,” and will feature both pure editorial and branded content produced by Foundry, its in-house content studio.