Google to assist publishers with digital subscriptions

Google to assist publishers with digital subscriptions

Google has announced the launch of a new tool called Subscribe as part of its company-wide effort to support journalism and grow publishers’ revenue – with Australian titles included as foundation partners.

Subscribe is available on Google’s Play store, where Android users can now subscribe to participating news publications using their Google account, making it easier for publishers to “reach new readers, drive conversions, and engage subscribers,” according to Google.

The new program comes under the digital giant’s $US300 million investment, Google News Initiative (GNI), which strives to support quality journalism, financial viability and new technology.

Publishers are offered 95 per cent of the revenue if the subscriber purchases the subscription on the publisher’s respective platform.

Alternatively, if a newspaper subscription is bought after arriving in the Play store through Google’s search engine, participating publishers will earn 85 per cent of revenue, up from 70 per cent previously.

Play store users have options to subscribe to any of its launch partners, including Fairfax Media publications, Les Échos, Le Figaro, the Financial Times, Gatehouse Media, Grupo Globo, The Mainichi, McClatchy, La Nación, The New York Times, NRC Media, Le Parisien, Reforma, la Republica, The Telegraph, USA TODAY NETWORK, The Washington Post, and more to be announced.

A Fairfax spokesman said: “We’re thrilled to be the leading Australian publisher working alongside Google. Fairfax is in the box seat to benefit, including from the several Google news initiatives announced overnight.’’

“The Subscribe with Google initiative helps make it as easy as possible for our readers to support the journalism they trust and value most. It radically simplifies subscriptions across devices and services. It’s an elegant solution and the result of the open and productive way in which Google has engaged the news media industry to deliver meaningful innovation.”

Google is also offering to highlight the publisher’s articles across Google surfaces on the subscriber’s devices, including a dedicated module on Search.

When a subscriber searches for a particular news topic, the tech giant will prioritise the publication to which they are subscribed, making it easier for publishers to reach and engage audiences.

This initiative comes weeks after Australian Consumer and Competition Commission chairman Rod Sims named the inquiry into Facebook and Google’s role in the Australian media ecosystem as a priority in 2018.

The inquiry will investigate the impact of social media and search engines in relation to competition with media and advertising services.