Google's News Showcase a shot in the arm for the industry, say Indian publishers

As part of Google's licensing agreements with publishers, the tech giant will also be paying participating news organizations to give readers access to a limited amount of paywalled content

e4m by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Updated: May 19, 2021 10:45 AM
google news

Indian publishers have long been pushing for a fair revenue share model with Google for using their original content. The tech giant’s decision to partner with 30 publishers in the country provides a huge boost to the indigenous news ecosystem.

As Google put it in their company blog: “These investments will help people find quality journalism, contribute to the sustainability of news organizations, and expand our programs under the Google News Initiative — enabling newsrooms to engage their readers in new and compelling ways through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.”

While their new online experience and licensing program under Google News Showcase, incentivizes and supports 30 news publishers according to sources discussion with more brands are underway.

The deal will help the organization to cover costs better said Punjab Kesari Joint Managing Director, Amit Chopra. “The move will make it viable for independent news to continue."

"We believe readers deserve the best content, and that the best content deserves to be paid for," said Sitaraman Shankar, Chief Executive Officer at The Printers (Mysore) Pvt Ltd.

"We're happy that this partnership with Google helps us achieve both objectives,” he added.

The Printers Mysore are publishers of Deccan Herald, one of the 30 partners Google has signed a deal with in India.

Elaborating on how the move will drive more engagements, Arpan Chatterjee, COO – Digital, TPML said, “Google News Showcase enables us to deliver curated content packages to our readers in Google platforms. This will further engage our users and increase the quality of user engagement.  We are happy to partner with Google on this initiative."

According to Vikas Handu, Vice President, Digital at India TV, for the first time, the publisher is truly in control of what they want to showcase on the Google platform and are not dependent on getting discovered through search. This positive shift is beneficial and can be a game-changer for both partners.

"News Showcase is innovative in the way it features publishers' content on Google. Looking for ways our content can be reached out to a wider audience has always been a focus area for us, we would like to build on the same for a mutually favourable ecosystem for journalism to flourish. With our focus on digital, we aim to reach a wider audience by delivering premium, high-quality content that can be discovered in truly innovative manners," he said.

Independent agencies that are part of the deal are also looking at the announcement as a timely move. “This initiative by Google is welcome and timely. ANI has a vast network of journalists bringing real-time news developments from across the Indian subcontinent, this partnership with Google will directly enhance these newsgathering capabilities and will assist ANI to continue to bring credible, prompt, informative news reports to Google users across the world,” said Ishaan Prakash, Editor ANI Live Services.

“ANI is what one would consider as 'traditional or legacy' media in our country, however, we have always been on the cutting edge of newsroom innovations and this partnership with Google is a testament to our ongoing endeavour in the digital news segment,” he added.

 As part of licencing agreements with publishers, Google is also paying participating news organizations to give readers access to a limited amount of paywalled content. This feature means readers will have the opportunity to read more of a publisher’s articles than they would otherwise be able to while deepening readers’ relationships with publishers and encouraging them to subscribe. This programme incentivizes and supports news publishers to curate high-quality content on Google’s News and Discover platforms, connecting readers with the news they need.

“Swipeable Google Showcase panels will go a long way in deepening readers' relationships with publishers and will surely encourage users to subscribe to relevant news sources of their choice. The newly launched interest-based panels will allow publishers to offer a variety of credible content in one card and enhance reader experience significantly," said an ABP spokesperson.

Starting yesterday, Google News Showcase rolled out in India with 30 news publishers including national, regional and local news organizations like The Hindu Group, HT Digital Streams Ltd, Indian Express Group, ABP LIVE, India TV, NDTV, Zee News, Amar Ujala, Deccan Herald, Punjab Kesari, The Telegraph India, IANS (Indo Asian News Service) and ANI.  This builds on News Showcase deals signed by 700 news publications in more than a dozen countries, including Germany, Brazil, Canada, France, Japan, the U.K. Australia, Czechia, Italy and Argentina, more than 90% of them representing local or community news — with discussions underway in several other countries. 

Content from the Indian publisher partners in English and Hindi will begin to appear in dedicated News Showcase panels in Google News and on Discover. The tech giant is also looking at incorporating more languages in the future. As part of their licensing agreements with publishers, they are also paying participating news organizations to give readers access to a limited amount of paywalled content allowing readers to read more of a publisher’s articles than they would otherwise be able to.

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