New Delhi, India – As India grapples with the virus, now having a record-high rate of daily cases in the world, Google has come to give support to its news ecosystem, with the launch of Google News Showcase.  

First launched in 2020, Google News Showcase helps participating publishers share their expertise and editorial voice through an enhanced storytelling experience. In addition, the experience lets readers dive deeper into more complex stories. It helps them stay informed on the issues and events that local, national, and global newsrooms highlight through their Google News Showcase panels.

Google News Showcase incentivizes and supports news publishers to curate high quality content on Google’s News and Discover platforms, connecting readers with the news they need.

Google News Showcase will rollout across 30 news publishers including The Hindu Group, HT Digital Streams Ltd, Indian Express Group, ABP LIVE, India TV, NDTV, Zee News, Amar Ujala, Deccan Herald, Punjab Kesari, The Telegraph India, IANS (Indo Asian News Service) and ANI.

In addition, English and Hindi news from the aforementioned publishers will show on the dedicated News Showcase panels in Google News and on Discover.

Google hopes in the near future to add more Indic languages to their News Showcase, as well as additional languages globally.

The launch is part of a global initiative by Google to support publishers that report on local or community news. To date, Google has signed in 700 news publications in more than a dozen countries, including Germany, Brazil, Canada, France, Japan, the U.K. Australia, Czechia, Italy and Argentina.

In a joint statement, Brad Bender, VP for product management at Google News and Sanjay Gupta, vice president at Google India, stated that this initiative will help people find quality journalism, contribute to the sustainability of news organizations, and expand their programs under the Google News Initiative — enabling newsrooms to engage their readers in new and compelling ways through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

In addition to the News Showcase rollout, Google is also training 50,000 journalists and journalism students in the country for its News Lab initiative, where they will focus on digital tools to aid verification and combat misinformation online, as well as expanding their programs to connect Indian journalists and fact-checkers.

They will be also introducing several new programs to help small and mid-sized publications achieve financial sustainability – all part of the GNI Digital Growth Program, which has already trained executives at 100 Indian news organizations since launching last year. The new programs include: 

  • New business training workshops, delivered virtually, to help news organizations address the needs of their audiences, grow their readership and deepen reader engagement. These workshops will be available for free to Indian publishers, alongside Google’s existing workshops to support business success for news organizations. 
  • The GNI Advertising Lab, which includes training sessions and implementation support to help more than 800 small-sized Indian news organizations grow their digital ad revenue. 
  • The GNI Transformation Lab, a more comprehensive program for 20 local small and mid-sized Indian news organizations to help them succeed online.

Google has ramped up its news support in India back in 2018 when they first launched the GNI India Training Network, in partnership with BoomLive, DataLeads and Internews. The program has trained over 25,000 Indian journalists in-person or via virtual live workshops in 10 languages, touching 1,000+ news organizations and 700+ universities.

“The Indian news industry and its journalists have embraced technology to engage with readers and make data-driven decisions to improve their business and reporting efforts. We believe it’s important that digital platforms contribute to a sustainable, independent and diverse news ecosystem, working with journalists, news outlets and news associations. We’re proud to be strengthening our commitment at this critical time,” Google said in a press statement.

Australia – News Corp Australia’s digital marketing service News Xtend has struck a partnership with Singapore’s news and publishing company Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), to target the island state’s small and medium enterprise market.

The digital marketing agency provides expert advice and know-how to SMEs to market themselves digitally, and this is the first time the agency has ventured into an overseas market.

The partnership is said to last for three years and will see the Singaporean publishing group reselling the agency’s services.

Executive chairman for Newscorp Australasia Michael Miller said that partnering with like-minded companies is the space that News Xtend has been eyeing to play in.

“We’re now exporting our know-how by partnering with another media company that, like ours, has successfully transitioned to the digital landscape,” said Miller.

He added, “It’s a great acknowledgement that the investment we’ve made to grow and diversify our business is now being deployed by another media business in another region.”

Aside from its publishing business, Singapore Press Holdings houses a number of digital businesses such as marketing communication services, an SaaS platform, and a mobile job portal.

The agency will be providing to SPH’s customers services such as search engine marketing, social media advertising, and video and display advertising.

The agency will also be offering a call tracking service, which will be packaged into simple, outcome-focused solutions, designed to make easy for customers to achieve meaningful business results that they can measure.

SPH’s Deputy CEO Anthony Tan thinks the partnership is well-timed, as the country’s current digital penetration is at almost 90%.

“SPH is excited to provide businesses with an affordable and convenient digital marketing solution to help them achieve their desired results. With this new partnership, we are well-positioned to support SMBs by bridging the gap in the solutions available in our domestic market,” said Tan.

Meanwhile, Emma Fawcett, News Corp Australia’s managing director for commercial product and platforms shared that Singapore has been an obvious choice for the expansion.

The company cites a PwC data which shows that SMEs generate almost half of Singapore’s gross domestic product and accounts for 72% of employment, where much of the sector is family-owned.

“Singapore’s explicit digital agenda places it among the region’s most digital savvy nations, which is something that extends to its small to medium business sector and is highly attractive to a business such as ours,” Fawcett said.

She added, “The fact Singapore has important synergies to Australia in terms of industries and digital habits, language and a highly supportive environment for foreign investment are wonderful extras and, of course, Singapore’s status as a critical commercial hub for the entire region is an added bonus.”

News Xtend’s parent company Newscorp Australia owns a portfolio of both national and regional newspapers, and a number of magazine brands. It is also a majority shareholder of merged entities Foxtel and FOX SPORTS Australia.