Google teams up with NY Times and FT for media subscription experiments, say reports

Google is experimenting with a media subscription tool in partnership with the New York Times and London’s Financial Times, reported Bloomberg over the weekend.

The partnership follows Facebook’s recent charm offensive with media owners as the two businesses look to work with publishers being crippled by the digital platforms attracting the bulk of online advertising revenue.

“It’s clear from news publishers that they can’t live on advertising alone,” Richard Gingras, Google’s vice president for news, told Bloomberg: “But it’s also clear that we’re seeing a shift in a market.”

Google will be revamping its “first click free” feature launched in 2008 which allows readers to access individual articles from subscription publications they find through search.

The company is also experimenting with tools for online payments and potential subscribers, says Bloomberg.

While Google seems to be limiting its experiments to the NY Times and FT, Facebook appears to be extending its product trials to a broader range of media organisations as indicated by vice president Adam Mosseri during his recent Sydney visit.

“News organisations can’t survive – not to mention thrive – without meaningful monetisation to pay for news, which is not cheap to produce,” Mosseri said. “So we’re exploring mid-roll ads on videos, we’re exploring subscriptions with a number of partners.”

Google’s plans also seem to counter the push to levy online platforms being made by the Australian Senate during its recent future of public interest journalism, something Gingras himself rejected during similar Canadian Parliamentary hearings last year.

The reported ventures are not the first time Google has partnered with the New York Times and Financial Times with the three being involved in trials of virtual reality platforms in 2015.


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