October 1st, 2020
Every day, millions of people in Europe use Google to find information. In today’s uncertain and fast-changing world, quality journalism is more important than ever. That’s why our goal in Search is to provide you with the most relevant and authoritative information available. We share a common cause with news publishers: supporting quality journalism to help create a more informed world.
We want to play our part in supporting the future of journalism. We already provide significant investments through our products, programs, and funding, including sending readers to European news sites eight billion times each month. And we’ve just announced a new service called Google News Showcase, a $1 billion initiative to feature high-quality journalism funded by Google for a new online news experience.
Alongside this, we’re providing an update on how Google is supporting journalism and answering some common questions we are asked.
How does Google use news content?
Google links to news articles, just like we link to every other page on the web, with a URL and sometimes a short preview if the publisher chooses. Every time you search Google, we provide links to thousands, sometimes millions, of web pages with helpful information. When you’re looking for news, those pages could be from a large traditional news publisher or a new digital outlet. They could be from a local news site, or a small publisher specializing in health or fitness or food or fashion. Our job is to connect you with the most relevant information. Publishers have always been able to control whether and how they want links to appear on Google.
How does Google support news?
The way people are consuming news is changing, and the business models which underpin and sustain news are changing, too. That’s why we have worked hard to deepen our support of the industry in many ways over many years.
Helping publishers reach huge audiences
Google Search and Google News help news publishers by sending large amounts of traffic for free to their sites. In Europe alone, people click on the news content Google links to more than eight billion times a month—that means we drive 3,000 clicks per second to publishers’ own websites. For larger news publishers, a study by Deloitte put the value of each click between 4-6 euro cents, mostly generated through advertising and subscriptions.
Delivering significant advertising revenue
Each year we help publishers earn billions of Euros in advertising revenue. Complementing publishers’ own advertising sales efforts, our technology brings additional advertisers and money to publisher pages and apps. On average, news publishers keep over 95 percent of the digital advertising revenue they generate when they use Ad Manager to show ads on their websites. The money paid to publish partners in our global ad network was $10 billion in 2015 and grew to $14 billion by 2018 by working closely with technology, with publishers, and with advertisers.
Making it easier to sell subscriptions
Publishers are building new business models around their digital content. That’s why we’ve created subscription tools that help publishers grow new revenue from online visits, such as Subscribe with Google, which provides an easy way for publishers to grow digital subscriptions.
Helping publishers through technical skills, tools and innovation investment
The tools we build are in collaboration with publishers. Take Accelerated Mobile Pages: Five years ago it took an average of 19 seconds to load a page on a mobile browser so we worked with publishers to build a new format to dramatically improve the mobile web and help ensure readers see their content.
In 2015, we launched the Digital News Initiative, a €150m million initiative to further support high-quality journalism by funding innovative projects with publishers. Working closely with leading publishers, these projects resulted in brilliant concepts which help tackle industry challenges from battling misinformation and telling local stories, to boosting digital revenues and exploring new technologies. The $300 million Google News Initiative furthers this work in Europe and around the world.
Extra help during the pandemic
During the pandemic, when sales of physical newspapers were reduced by lockdown and advertising suddenly slowed, we provided almost 10 million Euros in emergency funding to more than 1700 small and medium-sized European publishers impacted by COVID-19, as well as financial support for global news publishers with an ad-serving feewaiver on Google Ad Manager. This includes publishers like Eco di Bergamo in Italy, which has used the funds to increase investment in new means of production (like video, audio, photo, and data) to give readers a deeper, more analytical knowledge of what’s happening in the Bergamo area, which suffered heavy losses during the crisis.
How much money does Google make on news queries?
Advertisers typically do not seek to run ads against news content in Search, because a search for current news doesn’t usually give a clear signal of what someone might be interested in buying. That’s why the direct economic value Google gets from News content in Search is very small.
We don’t run ads on Google News or the news results tab on Google Search. Most of Google’s revenue comes not from news searches, but from a small percentage of the total searches, we get where people are searching to make a purchase, like typing “running shoes” and then clicking on an ad.
We invest in the news, not for profit; but because it’s important for society, for publishers, and for citizens wanting to read quality journalism.
Why doesn’t Google pay for news?
It’s not true to say we don’t pay for news or drive value for the industry. As mentioned above, Google links to news and helps drive millions of readers to publishers’ sites and apps—rather than carrying news articles ourselves. That creates a huge opportunity for publishers to turn those readers into loyal subscribers or show ads.
How is Google complying with the European Copyright Directive?
As a directive, Member States must first adopt this legislation before companies can comply with this law. In most Member States, the European Copyright Directive is still in the process of being transposed into national law. In countries where it has been adopted, we are working with regulators and publishers to comply.
Can Google do more?
In our biggest move yet to support the future of journalism, and taking on board what we heard during the debate on Article 15 of the European Copyright Directive, we have also launched a new kind of news experience called Google News Showcase. In the first three years alone, we will pay more than $1 billion to publishers creating and curating high-quality content for this product, with plans to extend beyond that as part of our long-term commitment to supporting the news industry. News Showcase will come first to readers in Germany and Brazil and will expand to other countries where the right working framework exists. We hope to bring this to more countries with discussions already underway in Belgium, the Netherlands, the UK, and elsewhere.
We acknowledge the strong desire of regulators to help the news industry overcome the longstanding crisis it’s facing, which is why we’re engaging with policymakers on this topic and providing new ways to help publishers derive revenue from their content. Quality journalism is more important than ever. That’s why Google is helping people find news, helping fund journalism, and helping support the diverse range of news publishers with products and technology as they adapt to a digital world.