News

Google News Showcase launches in UK with publishers paid for content

Posted on: February 11, 2021 by Ian Murray

Google has announced the launch of its Google News Showcase in the UK which will see publishers paid for content.

The service will provide curated editorial content to Google users as part of a dedicated feature on the Google News app.

The digital giant says the initiative offers UK news providers the opportunity to sustain business models and to develop commercial relationships with larger numbers of readers including by paying for paywalled content.

The launch has been welcomed by several UK news providers, including Reach, The Independent and The Telegraph.

Other content providers signed up to the service include Archant, DC Thomson, Evening Standard, The Financial Times, Iliffe Media, Midland News Association, New Statesman, Newsquest, JPI Media, and Reuters. In total, more than 120 publications in the UK will start curating content for News Showcase.

Announcing the launch, Google said: “We’re pleased to announce the launch of Google News Showcase in the UK today, our new licensing programme for news content. It supports sustainable business models in news by paying for content and giving news organisations the opportunity to develop commercial relationships with an even greater number of readers, including by paying for paywalled content.

News Showcase offers specially curated editorial content on a dedicated feature in the Google News app (which you can download on Android or iOS). Content from our publisher partners will automatically start to appear in panels in Google News and direct readers to the full article on the publisher’s site. People will see panels from publishers they follow in their personalised feeds and also see panels from publishers they’re less familiar with in the Google News “For You” feed and “Newsstand”, the discovery area of Google News.

As part of our licensing agreements with publishers, readers will also be able to access select content usually behind a publisher’s paywall. This is part of Showcase’s broader ambitions to support a sustainable future for journalism. By giving readers the opportunity to read more of a publisher’s content than they would otherwise have access to, it will also help publishers form commercial relationships with readers they may not otherwise encounter, such as by becoming a subscriber. 

“Where publishers used to pay for prominent positions on newsstands of old, News Showcase is paying publishers to bring their content to readers. Furthermore, it then helps publishers build reader relationships by driving readers to their sites, for free.” 

News Showcase builds on the work that Google has done to support journalism in the U.K. In January this year Google announced a £1m partnership with the NMA to digitise public notices and preserve a critical source of funding for local UK publishers.

The Google News Initiative, which will continue, has provided over £20 million to date to more than 200 UK initiatives aimed at supporting a sustainable future for news.

Reacting to the News Showcase launch, Chris Taylor, COO at The Telegraph said: “We have a longstanding partnership with Google and we are pleased to be launch partners for Showcase. We welcome the registration and subscription sampling opportunities that Showcase will provide to Google users and we are confident that many of them will go on to become Telegraph subscribers.” 

Zach Leonard, Chief Executive of The Independent said: “Google News Showcase extends The Independent’s well established partnership with Google, delivering on the brand’s diversified strategy to develop data-rich, engaged customer relationships, licensing revenues and digital subscriptions. We’re thrilled to join the platform as it rolls out.” 

David Higgerson, Chief Audience Officer of Reach added: “We welcome this initiative and its potential to give public interest journalism a more visible platform in Google. For us, public interest journalism thrives when it is not just about recording events but is of genuine interest to the public and is able to attract an audience that means it is sustainable. Google’s work here will help give readers a new way to discover news which is important to them, which they may not otherwise have discovered.”

Richard Neville, Head of Newspapers at DC Thomson whose titles include The Press and Journal, The Sunday Post and The Courier, commented: “We are excited to be working with Google News Showcase and we hope to see new audiences coming to our sites through the partnership. We are always looking for innovative ways to increase engagement and expand our ability to attract subscribers and I’m sure this will help us on both counts.”

The launch of Google News Showcase follows the UK launch of Facebook News last month which sees UK news providers paid for content under licence.


Google have announced the latest bidding round for GNI Subscriptions Lab programme for Europe

The scheme is supported by The International News Media Association (INMA), FT Strategies and Google and is the second round of the GNI Subscriptions Lab programme for Europe – an online eight month programme to help eight different publishers from Europe strengthen digital subscriptions capabilities and grow reader revenue. 

The labs are part of the GNI Digital Growth Programme (which aims to help European publishers succeed online) and was developed in partnership with FT Strategies and INMA. It draws on the first-hand experience of the FT’s transformation to a successful subscription business and Google’s digital audience, product and strategic insights.

The goal of the programme is to develop a sustainable and thriving digital subscriptions business for participating news organisations. The programme will include modules on creating loyal paying relationships with readers, optimising the engagement and subscription funnel, and embracing a reader-first strategy and culture. 

INMA, FT Strategies and Google will select publishers for the programme following an application process, with the goal of representing a cross-section of local and/or mid-sized news organisations. Following the Lab, the experience and knowledge gained from the programme will be shared with publishers around the world to help them implement their own digital subscription strategies.

The following criteria apply for applications: 

  • The programme lasts 8 months and is online.
  • Strong commitment across the entire organisation. 
  • Subscription revenues one of top 3 strategic priorities.
  • Willingness to share data and learnings with the industry.
  • Adequate technical resources to implement recommendations
  • English spoken by project team

Application timeline

  1. Please check if your company is eligible to the program and the publisher commitment.
  2. Please fill in application form by Wednesday 17th of Feb (it should not take more than 60 minutes to fill in and requires a cover letter by the exec sponsor)
  3. Successful candidates will be announced by mid March 2021