Google has started experimenting on fresh subscription solutions meant to help news publishers gain more readers who are willing to pay for their content and consequently increase their revenues, according to a report by Bloomberg. Among the first batch of publishers who are now working with the search giant to test the new tools includes The New York Times and Financial Times, which both offer subscription content to readers. While there seems to be a small number of content providers that are taking part in the test, Google’s vice president for news Richard Gingras was quoted as saying the Mountain View, California-based company is discussing potential business partnerships with more publishers who seek to increase their subscription base.
The subscription tools work by letting readers view premium news stories from publishers without showing a paywall to them at first, meaning that they can gain free access to articles that otherwise require a fee. This feature is called “first click free”, and, according to the report, Google has overhauled the system so that readers who access premium content through the search engine could read the article without charge. Part of the test also is to examine various solutions of the publishers that they can potentially use to initiate online payment systems as well as gain more readers. While it remains unclear how the online payment should work, Gingras revealed that Google’s mobile payment solutions and targeting tools would play crucial roles in the effort. It is not clear, however, what kind of revenue sharing agreement Google and publishers would adopt. Using the new subscription tools, publishers will be able to decide on the amount that readers must pay for subscription charge.
In addition to Google, another internet giant that has also been developing solutions catered to publishers in recent times is Facebook, which rolled out an extension in May of this year to its Instant Article SDK. The goal was to quickly convert from the Instant Article format to Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages and Apple News formats that enable publishers to create mobile-friendly content more easily and to enable websites and ads to load faster across platforms.