IT Minister hints at rules to make Big Tech pay for news content
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2 months ago 06:00:21am Television

IT Minister hints at rules to make Big Tech pay for news content

New Delhi, 07-February-2024, By IBW Team

IT Minister hints at rules to make Big Tech pay for news content

Two senior Ministers yesterday hinted that the Indian government could make regulatory interventions, if needed, to balance the revenue asymmetry between news content creators and those entities who monetise it.

In plain simple words it could mean that the Indian government could explore bringing in laws mandating revenue sharing between digital news publishers and Big Tech like Google, Facebook and YouTube — a trend started by Australia and then followed by some other Western countries where tech companies have been forced to pay news content.

Speaking in the morning at a conclave organised yesterday in New Delhi by the Storyboard18 Digital News Publisher Association (DNPA) of India, Electronics & IT Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar, according to a report in the Hindu Businessline (HBL) newspaper, held forth on the monopoly of Big Tech, amongst other things.

According to the newspaper’s report, responding to a query on ad-tech monopolies, Chandrasekhar said, “We are concerned about the deep asymmetry between those who create content and those who help them to monetise it. From a policymaking point of view, we want the internet to be open, and we certainly do not want monetisation on the internet to be in the purview of or to be controlled by just one, two, or three companies.”

He added that the pre-consultation draft of the Digital India Act lays the foundation for solving these “visible asymmetries” between the Indian content creation ecosystem and the big platforms, stated the HBL report.


“These big tech platforms are gatekeepers to monetising the content, and that asymmetry needs to be legislated, or at least regulated, through the rules of new legislation. And I’m hopeful that after PM Narendra Modi ji resumes office (in the third term), this will be one of his priorities,” he added, saying, though, consultations would be required before rules are mandated.

As has reported earlier, the issue of fair share of content monetisation vs. Big Tech’s monopoly in this realm has been debated furiously around the globe in recent times, including in India where even some parliamentarians also have brought up this issue within the House.

An industry body, News Broadcasters & Digital Association, had also made a representation to Google India over 18 months back, urging the tech giant to give the news content generators (like TV news channels) a more equitable share of revenue generated from monetisation of news content.

Meanwhile later in the afternoon, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur, while speaking in a panel discussion with representatives from news organisations as co-panelists, dwelt on the issue obliquely.

Without going into specifics, Thakur said that regulatory interventions could be explored when panelist Avinash Pandey, CEO of ABP Network, raised the issue saying Big Tech  should pay for news content.

Pandey stated that tech companies and news publishers could sit together to hammer out a win-win situation (on revenue sharing) and after that, if need be, a regulator could come into play.

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