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Google News Initiative

Five Australian winners of the Google News Initiative (GNI) Innovation Challenge

Last year, we launched the Google News Initiative (GNI) Asia Pacific Innovation Challenge, aimed at strengthening our support of digital innovation and new business models in news organisations. 

Through our work and partnership with publishers, it’s clear that reader revenue is key to their financial stability. We want to support innovators in this space—those who are pioneering approaches that involve everything from granting digital currency to subscription-based membership models. 

Today, I’m delighted to announce that five Australian projects will be supported as part of the Innovation Challenge. The projects include:

  • Crikey (Private Media) - Crikey's business model is already geared towards reader revenue, with over 90% of its revenue coming from individual subscribers. It aims to expand and diversify its pool of reader revenue by developing an innovative, user-friendly group subscription offering. 
  • Women's Agenda (Agenda Media Pty Ltd) - The Women's Agenda Extra platform is offering loyal readers a little 'extra' through a simple membership platform, featuring core components including regular deep dives on key news events; opportunities for members to discuss stories with journalists and editors; a database of female expert sources. 
  • Guardian News and Media Australia (GNM Australia Pty Ltd) - Guardian Australia will develop, prototype and user test a technology solution that will allow the timed surfacing of rich media during audio playback on mobile. This will enhance the user experience when listening to audio content and make it easier for listeners to make financial contributions to publishers.
  • Mamamia ( Pty Ltd) - Mamamia is developing a membership proposition that caters for different audiences’ content preferences. Building on existing high audience engagement, it aims to diversify both revenue and traffic sources for the organisation.
  • Community Broadcasting Association of Australia - The association will pilot a fundraising platform for Australia’s community broadcasting sector. Donations are a key growth area for income generation in community broadcasting and this project will develop fundraising technology for the sector. 

Within two months of opening up the Innovation Challenge, we received 215 applications from 18 countries. After a rigorous review, a round of interviews and a thorough jury selection process, we ended up providing support to 23 projects in 14 countries—amounting to a total of $3.2 million. 

When we called for applications, we listed four criteria: impact, feasibility, innovation and inspiration. The winners demonstrated a combination of each.

Thank you to every organisation who applied. There will be a second round of the APAC GNI Innovation Challenge later this year, and we encourage you all to re-apply. Watch out for details on our website.