Press Room

8 European publishers selected for Google News Initiative Subscriptions Lab 2.0

24 March 2021

LONDON (24 March 2021) – Google, the International News Media Association (INMA), and FT Strategies today kicked off the second edition of the Google News Initiative (GNI) Subscriptions Lab for Europe, an ambitious and intensive eight-month programme that will address every step of the digital subscriptions process, from discovery to conversion to retention.

The Lab is designed to strengthen and accelerate growth of the subscription businesses and help publishers deliver customised plans such as optimising the sales funnel and developing new monetisation strategies.

Building on the success of last year’s edition, the 2021 programme attracted more than 50 applicants from 22 European countries. The eight publishers who have been selected following a rigorous selection process are:

  • The Courier (DC Thomson Media), United Kingdom 
  • Denik (Vltava Labe Media), Czech Republic 
  • Irish Independent (Independent News & Media), Ireland 
  • Le Journal du Dimanche (Lagardère Media News), France 
  • OÖNachrichten (Wimmer Medien), Austria 
  • El País (Prisa), Spain 
  • Público (Público Comunicação Social), Portugal 
  • Ruhr Nachrichten (Lensing Media), Germany 

The selection criteria to join the Lab comprise senior management support and commitment, digital subscriptions being a top strategic priority, and a willingness to share knowledge and learnings with the rest of the cohort.

After processing the applications, a shortlist of finalists were interviewed by FT Strategies, INMA and Google. The selection panel focused on ensuring that the final cohort of eight publishers represented a broad cross-section of the industry: a mix of local, regional, and national focus; a range of sizes of publisher; and participants at different stages of their subscriptions journey.

This programme will engage the selected group of eight European publishers in a journey that will help them accelerate their reader revenue growth. The programme draws on the expertise of each of its delivery partners: the analytical tools developed by GNI, FT Strategies consulting on the “North Star” methodology used by the Financial Times to acquire more than 1 million digital subscribers, and expertise from INMA’s Readers First Initiative.

Eight publishers took part in last year’s inaugural edition of the European Subscriptions Lab: La Croix (France), Dennik N (Slovakia), Gazeta Wyborcza (Poland), The Independent (UK), Kurier (Austria), El Mundo (Spain), RP Online (Germany), and VLT (Sweden). Across all eight publishers, the programme achieved a rating of 4.9 out of 5 on its completion. Their experience and learnings were shared during last year’s INMA Virtual Town Hall, moderated by Researcher-in-Residence Grzegorz Piechota. For each participant, the 2020 Lab successfully:

  • Executed an in-depth diagnostic of performance 
  • Inspired change through the intervention of FT Strategies, INMA, and Google experts 
  • Built a “North Star” strategy with action plan and capability roadmap 
  • And implemented a range of experiments aligned to key priorities. 

About Google News Initiative and Digital Growth Programme

The Subscriptions Lab is a part of the Google News Initiative’s (GNI) Digital Growth Programme, which was created to provide European news publishers with training and other resources to grow their digital business.

The Google News Initiative represents Google’s largest-ever effort to help journalism thrive in the digital age. Through its partnerships, programs and products, the Google News Initiative works with thousands of organisations worldwide to support quality independent journalism, financial sustainability, and development of new technologies that drive innovation. Google allocated US$300 million over three years to energise these collaborations, and to lay the foundation for new products and programs for a diverse set of news publishers, to benefit the entire ecosystem. This includes supporting thought leadership on topics like consumer revenue, advertising, and data that are critical to the future of the news industry.

About FT Strategies

FT Strategies is a boutique digital consultancy within the Financial Times. The firm has deep expertise in reader revenue, customer engagement, and analytics, enabling companies to build profitable digital relationships with their audiences, thrive in the new digital economy, and future-proof their business.

About INMA

The International News Media Association (INMA) is a global community of market-leading news media companies reinventing how they engage audiences and grow revenue in a multi-platform environment. The INMA community consists of 16,000+ members at 850 media companies in 70+ countries and features strategic initiatives dedicated to digital subscriptions, data, and product.




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