Deciphering Google’s $1bn News Pub Giveaway

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October 06, 2020
Google’s $1bn News Pub Giveaway
Europe's Programmatic Revenue Grows—Despite GDPR
Deciphering Google’s $1bn News Pub Giveaway

Image sourced from Google

Google is opening its big fat wallet to news publishers, with the intention of giving away $1bn in licensing fees over the next three years. The announcement was made in a blog post by Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

Digging deeper: It’s all part of a new scheme the tech behemoth cooked up to showcase journalism in a new product called Google News Showcase that launched in Brazil and Germany last week—and will soon come to a country near you. Google News Showcase and the publisher incentive will reportedly extend beyond the first three years.

The new tool features story panels that will enable pubs to provide more pre-reading info about stories to entice readers. Rollout of the new service will start on Andriod, with iOS, Google Discover and Search to follow shortly after.

Some of the features of the new news tool will include:

  • More perspective from publishers
  • A timeline of events
  • Deeper understanding with key bullet points
  • Related articles
Why This Matters
A couple of months back, we talked about Google finally changing its tune—from a stance of never paying publishers for news to finally paying selected publishers for news—after France’s Competition Authority’s major win that ordered Google to pay for news.

The big question: While Google News Showcase looks great and has a beautiful UI, there’s a huge question of whether it will reap any financial benefit for the big G (or even bring more eyeballs to news stories).

The bottom line: As we hinted back then, the move plays out a bit like hush money. Or more aptly, as Joshua Benton recently opined at Nieman Lab: “They want the money to earn them happy headlines like “Google Pledges $1 Billion to News Publishers,” get the press off their backs, and ideally lower the heat on calls for government regulation or taxation.”
Despite GDPR, Programmatic Revenue Grew 23% in Europe
Post-GDPR, programmatic ad spend continues to grow in Europe.

The news comes from IAB Europe’s recent Attitudes to Programmatic Advertising Report 2020.

By the numbers:
  • Programmatic revenue grew 23% in 2019, topping €23bn (£21bn), with 77% of display and more than 50% of video now traded via programmatic methods.
  • 15% more advertisers invested more than 41% of their display inventory via programmatic methods in 2020, up from 55% in 2019 to 70% in 2020.
  • 52% of pubs said they were selling more than 81% of their ads.txt inventory.
#1 growth driver: Advertisers cited ‘better use of data’ as the number one driver for programmatic investment, increasing from 69% in 2019 to 80% in 2020.
Why This Matters
Now two-years-old, GDPR appears to have become less of a concern in the European market. While GDPR was not listed as a primary barrier to programmatic spend, data protection and constraints regarding third-party cookies were.

Still, both the buy side and sell side appear willing to invest in data for campaign activation and measurement.

First-party data targeting: 90% of advertisers and 74% of agencies are leveraging their first-party data and over 70% have turned to contextual data as a viable targeting solution. This is likely due to the better relationships businesses have been able to build with consumers around trust, transparency and privacy.
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