Inside Google's €150 Million Euro News Adventure

May 01, 2015 4:02 AM ETAlphabet Inc. (GOOG), GOOGL
Ken Doctor profile picture
Ken Doctor

In a move meant to blunt escalating European Union action against Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) marketplace dominance, Google will, on Friday, announce a €150 million partnership, to be spent over three years, in support of something called the Digital News Initiative (DNI), I've learned through several confidential sources.

At the conference, Google president EMEA and strategic relationships Carlo D'Asaro Biondo is scheduled to kick off and keynote the program, which will be followed by a Google press release and a well-placed op-ed column. Biondo has been a key player in Google's efforts to reset its troubled relationship with many European publishers, with this initiative as a centerpiece.

At least eight major European publishers have signed on to the initiative. They include The Financial Times, The Guardian, Italy's La Stampa, France's Les Echos, Germany's Zeit and Frankfurter Allgemeine, Spain's El Païs and Netherlands' N.R.C. Organizers consider the program an "open" one, so expect more publishers to join as well. It is a distinctly Eurocentric initiative, with no U.S.-based publishers as initial signatories, though the architects of the initiative expect its fruits to be globally useful for new companies.

Neither the publishers nor Google offered any immediate comment on the announcement.

The Digital News Initiative starts with three streams:

1) €150 million Google commitment toward news innovation. That's, of course, the stream that will catch the most attention. The work will focus on product and platform improvement.

2) A "Product Council," made up of publishers, will give direction to the initiative.

3) Google will also fund Reuters to widen news research in Europe. Expect to see more Europe-centric news research, à la the kind of analytic insights offered by the Pew Research Center in the U.S.

The timing of the announcement isn't incidental. Just two weeks ago, the European Union, through its Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, formally

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Ken Doctor profile picture
Ken Doctor is an analyst with a ringside seat at the greatest story ever told about the global media industry. Fully employing more than 35 years of experience across a wide range of media, he’s become a go-to speaker, press source and consultant for legacy and emerging press around the world, talking about emerging Newsonomics. He writes regularly on the business of media change for Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab and for Capital New York. He also contributes to CNN Money and Politico. He is at work on his second book, following “Newsonomics: Twelve New Trends That Will Shape the News You Get,” which has been translated into Mandarin Chinese, Korean, Portuguese and Russian. All of his work can be found at his own website. In the past couple of years, he’s spoken to groups and worked with companies on four continents, from Berlin to Sydney, Moscow to Sao Paulo and Orlando to New York. Ken’s keynotes and engagements level with his audiences – and find the ways forward with company and industry strategy. The audiences – whether conferences, trade groups or staff groups, large or small – say they are both challenged and energized. The Newsonomics “practical forecasting” discipline is about fact and metrics, not journalistic religion nor habit, and derives from a trusted access across the legacy and digital news marketplace. A veteran of the digital media industry, he combines deep experience as an executive in strategy, revenue models and journalism. His experience includes 21 years with Knight Ridder, as well as time spent in the worlds of licensing, corporate development, business development and syndication.

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