Google has a three-tier plan to boost paid subscriptions for news publishers, Bloomberg reports.
Google will revamp an existing feature called “first click free,” which allows searchers to access content that would usually reside behind a paywall. As the name suggests, only the first click is free. Further click-throughs require a subscription.
Another part of Google’s plan involves exploring publishers’ tools around online payments. Richard Gingras, Google’s vice president for news, tells Bloomberg this will involve the company’s mobile payment services.
The third part of Google’s three-tier approach to boosting subscriptions is to assist publishers with targeting potential subscribers.
Google is reportedly looking at ways to help publishers identify who is likely to subscribe, how much they’re willing to pay, and speed up the overall conversion process.
Gingras admits, “It’s clear from news publishers that they can’t live on advertising alone,” which may have put pressure on Google to create a plan that will keep publishers happy.
When publishers are making money they’ll produce more content, which will keep readers coming back, which will ensure Google keeps earning advertising dollars.
There may also be some form of revenue sharing agreement between Google and publishers, but Gingras declined to say if that will be the case.
Gingras also declined to offer specifics about either component of Google’s upcoming plans, though it was suggested the plethora of knowledge the company has on its users will come into play.
“This is an area, clearly, where our knowledge about our users can be brought to bear.”
Google will first be testing these tools with the New York Times and the Financial Times. The company is also in talks with dozens of other media outlets.