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Why Google Is Tweaking Its YouTube Player for European Publishers

September 14, 2016, 9:24 AM UTC
A webcam is positioned in front of YouTube's logo on June 28, 2013 in Paris. A new type of crook hunts its victims on the web, pushing them to erotic games in front of their webcam before blackmailing them with the videos. AFP PHOTO / LIONEL BONAVENTURE (Photo credit should read LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP/Getty Images)

Facing unfriendly copyright proposals from the European Commission, and in an attempt to woo the news industry to use its video technology, Google (GOOG) has unveiled a new partnership with EU publishers around video delivery.

Hours ahead of the copyright proposals’ expected launch on Wednesday, the U.S. web giant said it was launching a special version of the YouTube Player that would let online publishers control the advertising formats on their videos.

Publishers will also get priority ad sales rights across the videos they embed in their sites and their own apps.

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In a blog post, Google said the YouTube Player for Publishers would make it easier to simplify video infrastructure and cut costs, as publishers don’t need to invest in their own video playback systems.

Publishers testing the new player include The Guardian, France24, Norway’s Dagbladet, Austria’s Oe24, Germany’s and Spain’s Unidad Editorial (the publisher of El Mundo and others) and Prisa.

The move is part of Google’s Digital News Initiative (DNI), which is its €150 million ($168 million) effort to make nice with European publishers.

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Fierce lobbying by major publishing houses such as Axel Springer is responsible for the EU copyright proposals that are expcted to appear on Wednesday, in which publishers would gain the ability to charge Google and other news aggregators and search engines for indexing their stories and reproducing headlines and snippets of their text.

The proposals are also expected to tackle YouTube’s alleged “value gap” between the revenues it generates and the amounts that end up in the hands of content creators.

Google’s DNI also funds the development of new digital news-delivering technologies. Google has also associated with it the Project Shield scheme for protecting news sites from cyber-attacks, and the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) technology that makes content load more quickly for mobile users.