Google says it will give European publishers 150 million euros ($162.33 million) to help them adapt to the challenge of selling news online. A top executive also offered an apology for “some mistakes” in dealing with European publishers in the past.
It’s the second such fund Google has established. One launched in 2013 focused on France.
Google also is under increasing pressure from the European Union over its business practices.
The Internet giant has had a rocky relationship with the European publishing industry, which accuses Google of profiting from its content without sharing the revenue.
Google said in a statement Tuesday it is establishing the Digital News Initiative together with eight leading publishers, including the Financial Times and the Guardian. The announcement was made at a media conference in Berlin.
Carlo D’Asaro Biondo, head of Google’s strategic relationships in Europe, offered a mea culpa to media companies. The Hollywood Reporter quoted him as saying:
“We recognize that technology companies and news organizations are part of the same information ecosystem,” he said. “We want to play our part in the common fight to find more sustainable models for news. … Google has always wanted to be a friend and partner to the news industry, but I also accept we have made some mistakes…. We will achieve much more [when] journalism and technology work together.”
The fund is open to other publishers and will focus on developing new distribution channels, ways to make consumers pay for news, and training for journalists.
Last year, Google blocked Spanish publishers’ reports from more than 70 Google News international editions due to a new Spanish law requiring aggregators to pay to link content.
In 2013, Google announced a similar fund that was focused on French publishers.
“Google has agreed to create a €60 [just over $65 million million in U.S. dollars at 2015 rates] million Digital Publishing Innovation Fund to help support transformative digital publishing initiatives for French readers. Second, Google will deepen our partnership with French publishers to help increase their online revenues using our advertising technology,” Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said at the time.