Google has stepped up its help for the coronavirus-embattled news industry by offering to waive advertising fees for the next five months.
Earlier this week, the tech giant launched a global emergency relief fund for local news publishers to help them deal with the Covid-19 downturn, which has led to cuts across hundreds of titles.
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And Jason Washing – Google’s managing director of global news partnerships – today pledged to waive fees for news publishers across the world who use the company’s Ad Manager service.
It is not clear at this stage how much the gesture will cost Google or how beneficial it could be to individual publishers. Google declined to provide any figures, and a senior source in the US news media industry suggested it could be “nice” for affected publishers, but “not particularly impactful on their finances”.
Earlier this month, Press Gazette reported on warnings that Covid-19 threatens many publishers with collapse after years of losing advertising revenues to Google and Facebook. The pair have been dubbed the “duopoly” because of their dominance over the ad market.
In a blog announcing the advertising fee waive, Washing said: “During times of global crisis, people rely on quality journalism to stay informed and safe. And the ads that appear alongside news coverage help fund the journalists who write breaking news stories, and keep news sites and apps running.
“Many news publishers around the world use Google Ad Manager to support their digital businesses with advertising. As the coronavirus pandemic takes a toll on our global economy, the Google News Initiative is working to identify ways to provide immediate financial support to those news organizations around the world producing original journalism.
“That’s why we’ve decided to waive ad serving fees for news publishers globally on Ad Manager for five months. Over the coming days, we’ll notify our news partners that meet the requirements about the details of the program, and what they can expect to see in their account statements.”