A new licensing program to support the news industry

A vibrant news industry matters—perhaps now more than ever, as people look for information they can count on in the midst of a global pandemic and growing concerns about racial injustice around the world. But these events are happening at a time when the news industry is also being challenged financially. We care deeply about providing access to information and supporting the publishers who report on these important topics. 

Today, we are announcing a licensing program to pay publishers for high-quality content for a new news experience launching later this year. This program will help participating publishers monetize their content through an enhanced storytelling experience that lets people go deeper into more complex stories, stay informed and be exposed to a world of different issues and interests. We will start with publishers in a number of countries around the globe, with more to come soon. 

This endeavor will diversify our support for news businesses today, building on the value we already provide through Search and our ongoing efforts with the Google News Initiative to help journalism thrive in the digital age. While we’ve previously funded high-quality content, this program is a significant step forward in how we will support the creation of this kind of journalism. To start, we have signed partnerships with local and national publications in Germany, Australia and Brazil.

Our publisher partners, who we’ve been in discussions with for several months, say this is a positive shift in direction. "We are always keen to explore innovative ways to attract readers to our high-quality content,” says Stefan Ottlitz, managing director of Germany’s SPIEGEL Group. “This interesting new partnership with Google will allow us to curate an experience that will bring our award-winning editorial voice into play, broaden our outreach and provide trusted news in a compelling way across Google products.”

Where available, Google will also offer to pay for free access for users to read paywalled articles on a publisher’s site. This will let paywalled publishers grow their audiences and open an opportunity for people to read content they might not ordinarily see.  

Being able to grow their audience for important local content is what motivated Paul Hamra, Managing Director and publisher of Australian news titles including InQueensland andInDaily in South Australia to take part. "With local news under stress, finding new channels and new audiences for our premium content, in safe and curated environments, is a high priority,” he says. “This opportunity will give us access to new markets and provide additional commercial benefits.”

We have been actively working with our publisher partners on this new product which will launch first on Google News and Discover. We are currently engaged in discussions with many more partners and plan to sign more in the coming months.  

Geraldo Teixeira da Costa Neto, CEO of the Brazilian regional media company Diarios Associados, says they are proud to get involved: “From our side, we will do everything in our power to make this platform prosper and to be a compass for society to seek information from a safe and reliable source in times of challenges,” he says.

In the last few months, COVID-19 has created new and unimagined pressures on the news industry, affecting everything from the creation of quality journalism to the continuation of traditional business models. In response, the Google News Initiative has provided funding to more than 5,300 local publications globally via a Journalism Emergency Relief Fund, anad-serving fee waiver on Google Ad Manager and a $15m Support Local News Campaign to help alleviate some immediate economic constraints.  

Over the years, we’ve built audiences and driven economic value for publishers by sending people to news sites over 24 billion times a month, giving publishers the opportunity to offer ads or subscriptions and increase the audience for their content. We launched the Google News Initiative in 2018 with a $300 million commitment to help build a more sustainable future for news via programs like Subscribe with Google and the Local Experiments Project. 

Alongside other companies, governments and civic society organizations, we’re committed to playing our part to support news businesses. Today’s undertaking exemplifies that, and we look forward to what we can all achieve together.