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Written by Hoozu CEO, Natalie Giddings.

Meta’s decision to withdraw from negotiations with the Australian government regarding the News Media Bargaining Code has sent shockwaves through the digital landscape. In a move that reverberates far beyond Australia’s borders, Meta has taken a bold stance against what it perceives as unjust regulation. As the dust settles and stakeholders digest the implications, it’s imperative to dissect the details and ponder the ramifications of this pivotal decision.

The crux of the matter lies in the Australian government’s attempt to enforce the News Media Bargaining Code, mandating tech giants to pay local media outlets for news content displayed on their platforms. 

Meta’s decision to withdraw from negotiations is not taken lightly, especially considering the substantial financial obligations previously imposed by the News Media Bargaining Code. Meta and Google were collectively paying around $70M/year to Australian news outlets. $70M that these news outlets will no longer receive.

Meta argues the code undermines the fundamental principles of the internet by mandating platforms to pay for the dissemination of news content. This, according to Meta, sets a dangerous precedent that could stifle innovation, limit access to information, and ultimately harm users.

Yes, this move by Meta is going to massively affect traditional Aussie news outlets, but isn’t this  just another symptom of a broader, longer-term issue? Namely, ‘old news’ being pushed out by ‘new news’. This is actually a topic I spoke about last year with the demise of my old favourite magazine, Real Living.

For years now, the traditional media outlets (magazines, newspapers, tv) have been resisting the inevitable growth of social media. The News Media Bargaining Code allowed them to survive despite this growth of ‘new news’, but this was never a sustainable option. If you ask me (and many others), these traditional media publishers need to be looking for ways to embrace and benefit from ‘new news’ rather than resist or ignore it. As the saying goes, if you can’t beat them, join them.

And they can’t beat them. Brand marketing spends that were previously going to Australia’s traditional media are being diverted to these ‘new news’ channels. For example, our estimation is the spend in Influencer Marketing in Australia is currently sitting at a quarter of a billion dollars.

The landscape has fundamentally shifted: where people are seeking information has forever changed. A recent 2024 study, Trust in Influencer Marketing, found that a growing percentage (51%) of people now rely on Influencers when researching products. Could this not indicate that a similarly growing percentage of people are going to influencers/content creators for their news as well? And if they are, could traditional news outlets not benefit from such influencers and creators sharing their content to their audiences?

Social media and Influencers pose a great opportunity for traditional media outlets to grow their viewership and regain relevance. They just need to start embracing these ‘new news’ channels and stop resisting/ignoring/fighting them. It’s an uphill battle, and one they will lose. 

So, that’s my advice to the Australian news outlets being hit hard by Zuckerberg’s decision: change your perception – see these channels not as enemies, but as opportunities to thrive once again.

If you’re a brand looking for support to leverage Influencer Marketing with maximum success, brief us in today and we can chat this through!