SYDNEY, AAP – Kerry Stokes’ Seven West Media and Google have struck a deal to license news stories, on the same day the broadcaster declared first-half earnings rose 24 per cent.

Seven West Media on Monday said it signed a letter of understanding for a long term deal to license its news coverage for Google’s fledgling news showcase product.

Google this month unveiled its service, which pays publishers to select and tailor stories for panels across its services such as Google News.

The deal comes at the same time Google and Facebook face government scrutiny under proposed new media laws.

The government is considering requiring the digital giants to pay news providers for using parts of their stories on their platforms.

Google has threatened to close its search engine to Australians if the News Media Bargaining Code goes ahead.

Mr Stokes praised Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chief Rod Sims for their work on the code, which he said led to the licensing deal.

Australian Community Media and Private Media and Schwartz Media are already licensing stories via the showcase product.

Meanwhile, Seven West said first-half underlying earnings rose 24.4 per cent to $165.7 million.

Chief executive James Warburton said the advertising market was showing signs of recovery, and forward bookings were looking positive for the third quarter.

The company reported a net profit after tax of $116.4 million, better than the previous first-half loss of $49.4 million.

Seven West Media owns media services and publications including the Seven TV network, PerthNow and The West Australian.

Shares were higher by 6.38 per cent to 50 cents at 1555 AEDT.