Google has been making overtures to improve its reputation amongst news publications, particularly in Europe. The company has now announced the second round of funding through its Digital News Initiative Innovation Fund, which will see the company put in a massive €150m into European news organizations.
The Digital News Initiative (DNI), in case you are unaware of it, is a collaboration between Google and various news publishers in Europe. The initiative aims to support high quality journalism and encourage a sustainable news ecosystem by deploying state-of-the-art technology to propel innovation. The company has already distributed millions of Euros to various publishing companies across Europe and this latest round, is taking the trend further.
Announcing the new round, Google said,
Today, project leaders are being notified of funding offers that total €24 million to 124 projects originating from 25 European countries.
Google issued the first call for applications to the Digital News Initiative Innovation Fund back in October 2015. The company received thousands of applications and that included European newsrooms, individuals, publishing houses, startups and academics. Out of these thousands of applicants, Google’s DNI team has been selecting and disbursing funds, having already distributed in excess of Euro 50 million.
With today’s funding announcement, the Digital News Initiative Innovation Fund has so far distributed €51M to these efforts, and we’re just getting started.
The first group of funding included 128 projects, which ended up receiving a total of €30 million. The second group on the other hand, includes 124 projects. So that makes over 250 publications that have until now, received aid from Google. The company also said that this round of funding focused upon collaborative projects.
We received more than 850 project submissions from 25 countries, and of the 124 projects funded today, 43 are committed to the spirit of collaboration and partnership. And among the 30 Large projects selected for funding, 15 are collaborative.
The aid through Google’s DNI initiative comes at a most opportune time. Publications across Europe and indeed globally, have been hurt by the recent innovations in technology and the freedom provided by Internet. Think of it this way, you had to pay a subscription for a newspaper right? Now though, even if a publication tries to impose a subscription on its users, they can simply opt for other news portals that profit through ads and are essentially free for everyone.
While great for regular readers who now get to enjoy all sorts of content for free, this has been bad for business. Huge corporations such as WSJ and Guardian have been forced to resort to cost cutting strategies such as layoffs. As such Google’s DNI initiative is helping many smaller publications come up with innovative approaches that will allow them to adapt to the new trends.