Google is looking make friends with the media. As per a new report from Bloomberg, the internet giant is developing a series of new tools with hopes of boosting subscriptions for news publishers. First, Google is revamping its “first click free” feature, which allows audiences to access articles from subscription publications by way of search. Separately, Google is looking into publishers’ tools relating to online payments, and honing in on potential subscribers. Of course, the ultimate goal is to ensure that both consumers and content producers stay online, and therefore, continue feeding into Google’s highly lucrative ads business.
According to Bloomberg, Google is first testing its new tools with the New York Times and the Financial Times. But don’t worry — other publishers will soon be allowed to join the party, too. “It’s clear from news publishers that they can’t live on advertising alone,” said Richard Gingras, Google’s vice president for news. “But it’s also clear that we’re seeing a shift in a market.”
Part of Google’s testing will involve allowing readers to see content that might otherwise be hidden behind a paywall by offering it, free of charge, through the company’s Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP platform. Google also wants to help companies like the Times identify folks they ought to target for subscriptions through these AMP pages, and determine just how much new audiences are willing to pay, and make it easier for them to subscribe.
“This is an area, clearly, where our knowledge about our users can be brought to bear,” Gingras told Bloomberg. “There is no singular subscription strategy that will work for each publisher.”
It’s unclear as of yet whether Google will be sharing revenue with publishers who are brought in to use these new tools, and Kinsey Wilsonan adviser to Mark Thompson, president and chief executive officer of The New York Times, told Bloomberg that the publisher has yet to discuss revenue terms with the tech giant.
But if Google finds a way to make this a lucrative deal for publishers, it could result in a feed of popular articles from a host of different publications.