Arab Media Forum: Google, Facebook, other tech giants must share bigger click revenues with content creators, say experts

They stress that the time is now for Arab governments to take a call on this – not 10 years later

File photo
File photo

Waheed Abbas

Published: Tue 4 Oct 2022, 12:03 PM

Last updated: Tue 4 Oct 2022, 2:40 PM

Technology giants such as Google, Facebook and others should share the revenues that they generate from the content created by the media house, said senior industry executives of the Arab media industry on Tuesday.

They stressed that the time is now for Arab governments to take a call on this – not 10 years later.

Nart Bouran, CEO International Media Investments, said regional media houses now follow technology majors in order to increase their audience and improve profitability.

“Big technology companies are taking 90 per cent of revenues and the remaining 10 per cent is divided between content distributors", Bouran said during a panel discussion on the first day of the 20th edition of Arab Media Forum.

"This needs to change. We should have an agreement with big tech firms that they should pay because we are creating the content, but they are earning 90 per cent of revenues. The situation will become difficult if things don’t change. For the time being, I don't think the situation is really promising."

Bouran added that media firms are following technology majors.

“The bottom line is we have to follow the money. [It] all depends on the profitability of big tech firms; we just follow them,” he said during the panel discussion on the topic of “A glance into the future of media.”

Pierre el Daher, CEO, Lebanese Broadcasting Corp International, said entities can’t take a decision in this regard, meaning that Arab governments will have to intervene.

“None of the Arab governments oversee what is happening, but Australia's government decided on this point. Regional governments need to take a decision now. If they decide in 10 years, it is too late,” said el Daher.

Content is king

Nart Bouran stressed that Covid-19 proved that content has become even more important than advertising.

“The news [does not have the] same importance. TikTok is more important than a news bulletin; social media has become part of content creation and it is here to stay. We have to live with it,” he said, adding that media outlets face a challenge as the audience started going further away from news to social media.

He pointed out that the media houses are also changing their operating models that confirm the new norm and meet the demand of the market.

Pierre el Daher said social media brought new digital platforms and presented new opportunities for viewers to watch content.

“Therefore, we should just call social media 'media'. For content creators, social media is one of the avenues regardless of platform,” he said.

Albert Shafik, director of the TV media sector, United Media Service, said that even in the era of technology when there are several different models, content would remain the cornerstone.

“There is no social media: I would rather call it media,” he said, adding that the face of media will change with the development of new technologies.


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