Google partners with FT Strategies to help European publishers grow reader revenue

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Feb 2020

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Launch of the GNI Subscriptions Lab


Last week we were delighted to announce the launch of the GNI Subscriptions Lab at the Google News Initiative Summit in Amsterdam. The Lab is a nine-month programme to help eight different publishers from Europe strengthen digital subscriptions capabilities and grow reader revenue. 

The programme is a European expansion of GNI Subscriptions Labs in North America and Latin America and is part of the Google News Initiative (GNI) which provides products, partnership and training to help the news industry succeed in the digital age. The European GNI Subscriptions Lab was developed in partnership with FT Strategies and INMA and draws on the first-hand experience of the FT’s transformation to a successful subscription business and Google’s digital audience, product and strategic insights.

The goal of the programme is to develop a sustainable and thriving digital subscriptions business for participating news organisations. The programme will include modules on creating loyal paying relationships with readers, optimising the engagement and subscription funnel, and embracing a reader-first strategy and culture. 

FT Strategies, INMA and Google will select publishers for the programme following an application process, with the goal of representing a cross-section of local and mid-sized news organisations. Following the Lab, the experience and knowledge gained from the programme will be shared with publishers around the world to help them implement their own digital subscription strategies.

Richard Gingras, VP News, Google says, “Many large publishers have seen great success from digital subscriptions but it’s crucial for publishers of all sizes to find ways to grow their reader revenue to ensure a sustainable future. This partnership with FT Strategies and INMA will enable publishers to test and develop new business models and is part of Google’s commitment to do more to help the news industry in the digital age, through our Google News Initiative.”

“The opportunity to work with eight European publishers, to help them build their own successful subscription businesses, was one that we were very keen to be a part of,” says Tom Betts, chief data officer for the Financial Times. “Over the next eight months, our consulting team will be working with each publisher, sharing the FT learnings that accelerated our digital subscriptions and pushed us past our one millionth paying reader. Overall a healthy paid content ecosystem is good for all publishers  supported by a reader revenue model and we are excited to be building this with our partners on the programme.”

“Better understanding the art and science behind digital subscriptions is central to INMA’s mission and our industry-leading Readers First Initiative,” says Earl J. Wilkinson, executive director and CEO of the International News Media Association (INMA). “We view the opportunity to partner with the Google News Initiative and FT Strategies in Europe as a valuable extension of that mission. With fresh insights, we hope to share with members and the news industry ideas that will inspire a foundational business model moving forward.”

Applications open today and interested publishers should complete an application form before 28th February.

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