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Paywall model: Google and its opinion on the media that already charge for their news

The world’s media is increasingly interested in the option of monetizing its contents on the web. A standard bearer of this system is the “The New York Times”, media that charges for its news since March 2011.

In that year, the president of the editor of the newspaper, The New York Times Company, Arthur Sulzberger, defended the decision to collect as follows: “It is the best example of where we believe the future of quality content is.”

For Rodrigo Bonilla, director of Americas of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), the reason for this trend is simple: money from online digital advertising, almost total domination of Facebook and Google, does not It’s enough.

“Advertising that is advertised in real time and using algorithms has not been enough for newspapers to attract more advertisers. That is why the idea that online money has to come from readers is coming back with force, “Bonilla underlined in 2017 in a dialogue with the Knight Center.

If we talk about news media on the web it is impossible not to mention Google, since a large part of the visits they receive derives from the search engine. In that sense, we wanted to find out what the Internet giant thinks about the news platforms and the changes they are experiencing.

Here is our interview with David Hyman, manager of Alliances with Media for Google Latin America:

How important are news media for Google?

A large search engine, by its very nature, depends on the open web and access to high-quality information. That is why Google has a strong commitment to quality journalism and works hard to ensure that news with quality content is highlighted on all its platforms, that users find it easily, and that news partners benefit from it. produce them

In this sense, Google helps the media to develop its business: we generate 13 billion dollars a year globally for the media that use our technologies and advertising solutions. On the other hand, Google derives traffic from 10 billion free clicks per month worldwide to news sites.

Google has a close relationship with content publishers of all sizes, we work with the world’s leading consortiums and media groups, as well as with smaller bloggers and publishers. We help them grow, participate and monetize their audience and we will continue to do so as a strategic priority for our company.

What have been the most significant changes you have observed in the web news media in recent years?

In the world in which we live, the user is the centre and the real challenge is to gain their attention. Consumers changed their habits radically and that produced strong transformations in the business model that underpins journalism. We live in a dramatically different world where people consume more news than ever from a number of sources never seen before.

In this context, news organizations have a much more difficult task to stay relevant and collaboration is a central issue. Today newspapers, radios, television and other types of media are just one part of a broader set of information systems, in which each one plays a different role when it comes to informing people.

How has Google evolved before these changes?

At Google we worked for more than 15 years with the newspaper industry and we see every day that the capacity for innovation that characterized journalism from its origins remains vital and intact. Today we are multiplying our cooperation initiatives with the aim of working towards the construction of a bright and sustainable future for journalism. Therefore, in March of this year we launched the Google News Initiative (GNI), our effort to help journalism thrive in the digital era. The GNI has committed an investment of 300 million dollars in the next three years to fund initiatives, products and projects in the media around the world with specific objectives within 3 main pillars: raise and strengthen quality journalism in our platforms , develop business models to support quality journalism and empower news organizations to take advantage of new technologies.

What projects has Google developed with the media?

We work side by side with the media on three major fronts: we create products that meet the needs of news organizations and expand their digital businesses, such as Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), News Consumer Insights, Subscribe with Google and Fact Check. In addition, we develop and support programs that drive innovation in the news industry, such as Google News Lab, Cloud Program for Media, among others.

What do you think is the future of Google’s work with news media?

The efforts of this joint work are aimed at providing the media with access to more and more tools and knowledge that allow them to do quality journalism and, at the same time, users can easily access relevant and quality information. This implies an evolution of the business model of the media towards new sources of income that complement advertising, such as subscriptions. In this context, innovation is key, that is why from Google we will continue working in areas such as machine learning and data analysis to accompany the media in this evolution.

What could be highlighted from the web media of Peru?

We see that the news platforms are responding positively to the needs of an increasingly connected Peruvian who demands, in real time, information about any event. And that leads journalism to face a period of digital transformation essential to move forward. Many of the local news platforms have already successfully integrated tools and specialises in the digital field, and that is remarkable.

What does Google think about the big media that are starting to charge for their news?

I must say that the business of journalism changed with the digital era, but this does not mean that quality journalism cannot be a successful business. The models that will allow journalism to prosper, in this century, will be different. There are different models to maximize it. For example, in the United States, 40 years ago, newspapers were financed mostly by advertising. Subscription revenue was less than 5%. That today changed. The New York Times now has 2.8 million digital subscribers, more subscribers than they had in its print edition. It’s almost two-thirds of your digital revenue. It is important to keep in mind that subscriptions will not necessarily be the solution for all media, but each one must find the strategy that best suits their context.

How does the business model that Google has before the news charge change?

Nothing changes. In fact, last year we put an end to our First Click Free policy and in March of this year, as part of the efforts of the GNI, we launched Suscribe with Google, a new comprehensive subscription platform designed to help publishers to Drive conversions and attract existing subscribers in Google and the web, helping them to develop income sources beyond advertising.

FACT: South America is no stranger to the trend of charging for news. O’Globo, in Brazil, and Clarín, in Argentina, among others, have also joined the paywall model since 2017.

Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

Also published on Medium.

Published inAd Tech

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