Google’s $300m effort to assist publishers

Lindsay Bennett
By Lindsay Bennett | 21 March 2018

Google has launched a new suite of tools to help media publishers grow subscriptions, advertising sales and readership as it continues to build its relationship with news media.

While some view the move as Google’s latest effort to resuscitate the industry it helped crush, the tools are being recognised as another olive branch extended by the tech giant.

As many grow wary of Facebook in light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and its News Feed update, with the hashtag #DeleteFacebook trending globally this week, Google is cementing its support for digital journalism over the next three years with a US$300m investment.

The new initiatives aim to “build a stronger future for news” and the fund will be used to support products and partnerships with publishers.

Google has been previously viewed as an enemy to the industry, but publishers are warming to the tech platform with Fairfax even inking a deal with Google last year.

Part of the initiative includes the creation of a new platform to manage subscriptions to news outlets, called Subscribe with Google.

Read more: Google is becoming a friend to publishers, but Facebook remains a foe

As Australian publishers move towards a greater focus on subscriptions, it was a common bugbear within Fairfax and News Corp that Google’s ecosystem didn’t welcome content that sat behind a paywall.

Users can subscribe to multiple news sources, with Google managing the billing and keeping the subscriptions all in one place.

Fairfax has signed on as the local launch partner while papers as the Financial Times, The Telegraph, The New York Times and Washington Post have signed on in the UK and US.

Google also said it was releasing a new analytics tool, News Consumer Insights, to help news organisations “understand and segment their audiences with a subscriptions strategy in mind”.

When it comes to overcoming the explosion of fake news, Google said it is focusing on combating misinformation during breaking news events by including a “Top News” shelf that will highlight relevant content from verified news sources in search results and on YouTube.

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