How Google is assisting APAC news publishers to up their digital game

The tech company announced that it has invested $33 million in GNI and supported more than 1,000 news organizations across Asia-Pacific

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Apr 23, 2021 8:31 AM
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Tech giant Google is expanding its programmes and partnerships in the Asia Pacific that are aimed to help publishers take advantage of digital technology. As publishers reassess their business models, Google has rolled out various programmes like Google News Initiative (GNI), digital growth training, the launch of Subscription Labs, and investment in fact-checking to combat the menace of fake news.

Google APAC Head of Media, News & Entertainment Partnerships Rohan Tiwary has provided an update on the company's support for Asia’s news industry.

Tiwary said that Google has invested $33 million in GNI and supported more than 1,000 news organizations across Asia-Pacific. "We’ve been helping publishers with emergency funds and working with newsrooms to build resilience. And we’ve expanded programs and partnerships aimed at ensuring organizations across the region can make the most of digital technology."

He also stated that news publishers that want to better manage data are using Google's News Consumer Insights and Realtime Content Insights tools. As part of its Digital Growth Program, more than 1,600 practitioners from 260 news organizations across the region have registered for the training.

"We’ve also brought the Digital Growth Program to Asia-Pacific, rolling out localized content on audience engagement, reader revenue, and data in Indonesia, Japan, and Korea, as well as in English-speaking countries," Tiwary stated.

In partnership with the World Association of News Publishers, Google had also launched the Asia-Pacific Subscriptions Lab, which aims to help publishers improve how they attract, retain and earn revenue from subscribers. Eight publishers— BloombergQuint, Business Insider Japan, CommonWealth Magazine, The Hindu, The Jakarta Post, Kompas, Malaysiakini, and Southeast Asia Globe—participated in the intensive four-month program.

"As our report on the Subscriptions Lab shows, publishers are already seeing positive results. The Hindu, for example, achieved a 50% increase in sign-ups by removing sign-up barriers and making offers more visible and easier to compare. Pradeep Gairola, The Hindu’s Vice President and Business Head, said the experience “brought clarity on the possibilities and the way ahead… and gave us insights into strategies adopted by other publishers," Tiwary pointed out.

As part of its support for newsroom talent across the region with a range of verification programs, Google is backing organisations that are working to combat pandemic-related misinformation with stringent fact-checking. Through GNI’s global COVID-19 Vaccine Counter-Misinformation Open Fund, we’re providing grants to three important fact-checking projects in the region.

"One recipient, Katadata from Indonesia, is working with the Indonesia Traditional Wet Market Merchants Association. Another recipient, Stuff from New Zealand, has joined up with Māori Television and the Pacific Media Network. And India’s The Quint is leading a broad collaborative project to source hyper-local misinformation and distribute fact-checks through a grassroots network of rural women," Tiwari said.

With an eye on the next generation of news leaders in Asia-Pacific, Google also kicked off the first GNI University Verification Campaign designed to train tertiary students in fact-checking, including quizzes and video tutorials. "These are just a few examples of our ongoing efforts to support the news industry. We’re learning from our partners all the time, and we look forward to continuing to work with publishers, industry associations, and journalism schools as the industry prepares for the post-pandemic future."

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