By Alfonso De Gaetano, Director – Global Partnerships Emerging Markets at Google
The news publishing business is facing a challenging and complex reality.
First, people are consuming more news than ever before, from more sources than ever before. They learn about their world and form opinions in very different ways. On the open web, anyone can be a source of information. It’s not all high quality or accurate, but people engage with it. There are moments when accurate information is especially important, and it’s sometimes difficult to sort out what’s accurate and what’s not.
Second, journalism’s economic models are changing. Print ad revenue in many parts of the world is declining. Digital advertising, and in some cases subscription revenue, is increasing, but often not fast enough to offset the decline.
Third, the rapid evolution of technology continues to challenge all institutions, including the news industry, and including us at Google, to keep pace.
First, a great search engine, by its very nature, depends on the open web and on open access to information. And that includes high quality content. The last thing you want as a search engine is to see the open internet becoming a race to the bottom.
Second, a big part of our business is display ads for publishers, which is built entirely on a revenue share model. Last year, we paid $14 billion to all of our publishing partners globally. And we drove 10 billion clicks a month to publisher websites, for free. The economics are clear; if publishers (including news publishers) don’t grow, we don’t grow. That’s also true for YouTube with creators and Play with app developers. In both cases, we have revenue share models in place.
Last year, we announced the Google News Initiative, which focuses on elevating and strengthening quality journalism, evolving business models to drive sustainable growth and empowering news organizations through technological innovation. But our engagement with the news industry goes back further.
A few years ago, a number of news organizations asked us to help with mobile speed. Today, over 70 percent of mobile sites take longer than 10 seconds to load.
If your site takes longer than 3 seconds to load, our research shows that you lose over 50 percent of your audience. So, we partnered with many publishers to build the open source Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project. Since then, over 5 billion AMP pages are published on the web and AMP publishers are now making 3x more revenue.
And of course, there’s video. News organizations asked us to help simplify video distribution, to reach new audiences and reduce costs. So we developed YouTube Player for Publishers and their watch time has more than doubled.
We worked with nearly 60 publishers from 18 countries to launch Subscribe with Google, a seamless sign-in and payment flow enabling users to use their Google account and payment methods to subscribe across the web, eliminate account registration, memorizing new passwords, or entering a new credit card.
Our Cloud solutions help scale the publishers’ business and process the incredible amount of data that they are collecting in real time. At the same time, thanks to Machine Learning applications, publishers can transform user experiences, increase revenue and improving operations.
We share a common challenge with news publishers around the world and in the MENA region. The incredible pace at which consumers are adopting new technologies is mind blowing. That’s why these challenges require tech companies and publishers to work together more than ever, and we’re all in.