In the not-so-very-distant past, the IPKat welcomed a guest blogpost, "Copyright in Spain: a month without Google News", from his Spanish friend Míchel Olmedo Cuevas. Now the same author is back with further news which rather suggests that, irrespective of the sensational headlines, life goes on ...
Did the “Google Tax” really change the market?
As Eleonora Rosati explained last December and I further discussed a few weeks ago, Google ceased offering “Google News” in Spain three months ago today, following a controversial amendment to the Spanish Intellectual Property Act 1/1996, adding to its text a new provision regulating the snippets shown by news aggregation services when indexing content from Spanish newspapers.
The tail of a snippet ...Reactions to this reform were mixed. Some folk adopted strong positions against the new regulation on snippets (eg Ricardo Galli, founder of Menéame, one of the most important news aggregators in Spain), while others celebrated a victory, saying they'd do it all over again (that was the response of the Spanish Newspapers Editors Association, AEDE). It seems clear that both sides had their arguments, even though those against the new law are in the majority, it being currently impossible to find any website supporting the “Google Tax” among the first pages of search results on Google Spain, and only a few results in Google's international version.So, after the brief introduction we had in January, it is now time to go through the most recent data and try to find out how much this new situation has changed the scenario for the Spanish newspapers.According to the latest data, after the losses they suffered in January, which varied between 3% and 9% for the major Spanish online newspapers (as you can see from the data shared by prnoticias, in Spanish, here), the written online media keeps losing visitors, but the rate is now slower, settling dwn at around 4% and 6% for all newspapers sites, except for elpais.es, as prnoticias reported last week.The numbers shown by the Spanish media sites prove that, even though there has been an undeniable decrease in their traffic figures, the impact has been significantly smaller than in Germany, where media giant Axel Springer penned a deal to get back into Google News, after losing a high amount of their visitors, that came directly from Google News, a situation that many feared would be repeated in Spain. However, on the contrary, it seems that the Spanish experience is closer to that of Brazil, where national newspapers amounting for 90% of the traffic dropped out of Google News almost three years ago, and do not seem to lbe ooking to make a comeback since, according to the newspapers association, only 5% of overall traffic was lost, after 135 out of 154 newspapers decided to leave the news aggregation service provided by Google.
One reason why the losses in Spain have not been so significant might be because use of Google News was low in the first place, with other platforms such as Menéame, which is still active, accounting for a higher number of users. Other explanations could be that Spaniards prefer to check the whole website of their favourite newspapers (or maybe some specific sections, such as “La Chica de AS”, from the sports newspaper AS, similar to The Sun’s famous Page Three Girls) -- or it could be that they still choose traditionally printed newspapers, instead of the digital version. Whatever the reason for these figures is, the cold fact is that the closure of Google News has not made any significant changes in the Spanish market, at least for the moment.
This being a family weblog,
Merpel asked La Chica
to pose behind a tree ...
The final chapter of this story will take place in four to five months, when the “fees” for this tax should be agreed between CEDRO (Spanish Collective Management Entity in charge of collecting this so-called “tax”) and the main representatives of the industry (supposedly, both newspapers and aggregators) and the first monthly charge will be due.