Google News has rolled out its new policy that replaces the old ‘first click free’ to ‘flexible sampling’ – a move to drive the future of digital subscriptions.
The Vice President of News, Google, Richard Gingras in a blog post announced the new model that will support subscription businesses for news publishers. Now, news publishers will determine whether or to what extent they will allow free sampling for readers. Previously, the first click free policy was made to help online readers get accustomed to news reading. The publishers had to provide a minimum of three free articles per day via Google Search and Google News before a reader is shown the paywall.
“We will end our First Click Free policy in favour of a Flexible Sampling model where publishers will decide how many, if any, free articles they want to provide to potential subscribers based on their own business strategies, Gingras put in his blog.
Gingras started his blog stating, “Journalism provides accurate and timely information when it matters most, shaping our understanding of important issues and pushing us to learn more in search of the truth. People come to Google looking for high-quality content, and our job is to help them find it. However, sometimes that content is behind a paywall.”
Google ending First Click Free policy, to give news publishers more power
— pranita deshpande (@dpranita583) October 4, 2017
The Google News model is aiming to give more power to new publishers and help readers understand the need for subscriptions. “Longer term, we are building a suite of products and services to help news publishers reach new audiences, drive subscriptions and grow revenue. We are also looking at how we can simplify the purchase process and make it easy for Google users to get the full value of their subscriptions across Google’s platforms,” he further illustrates in his blog.
“Google’s decision to let publishers determine how much content readers can sample from search is a positive development,” said Kinsey Wilson, an adviser to New York Times CEO Mark Thompson. “We’re encouraged as well by Google’s willingness to consider other ways of supporting subscription business models and we are looking forward to continuing to work with them to craft smart solutions.”
“It’s extremely clear that advertising alone can no longer pay for the production and distribution of high-quality journalism—and at the same time the societal need for sustainable independent journalism has never been greater. Reader-based revenue, aka paid-content, or subscription services, are therefore not just a nice-to-have, but an essential component of a publisher’s revenue composition,” said Jon Slade, FT Chief Commercial Officer.
“The Financial Times is welcoming of Google’s input and actions to help this critical sector of the media industry, and we’ve worked very closely with Google to aid understanding of the needs that publishers have and how Google can help. That mutual understanding includes the ability to set controls over the amount of free content given to readers, a level playing field for content discovery, optimised promotion and payment processes. It is important that we now build and accelerate on the discussions and actions to date.”
In India, the publishers who have kept their stories free will also consider using the new model and the news portals that have embraced multimedia more holistically will have a new avenue to unleash the flexible sampling model.
Get in touch with Asiacom to know more about Google News and its new subscription model…