Jessica Goodfellow
Apr 17, 2020

Google to waive ad serving fees and provide aid to shrinking newsrooms

Tech giant has revealed series of initiatives to help newsrooms stay afloat as advertisers dial down spend.

Google to waive ad serving fees and provide aid to shrinking newsrooms

Google is to waive ad serving fees for eligible publishers for five months and has launched an emergency relief fund for small or local newsrooms—in a bid to salvage publishers struggling financially during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The search giant announced that it will waive ad serving fees for select news publishers globally today (April 17), in recognition of how many news organisations rely on Google Ad Manager to support their digital sites. It will be notifying eligible news partners over the coming days, and will be waiving the fees for five months.

Jason Washing, director of global partnerships - news, said in a blog post the fee waiving is one of the ways the Google News Initiative is looking to help news organisations "reduce some of the cost of managing their businesses and funding important journalism during this time".

"During times of global crisis, people rely on quality journalism to stay informed and safe. And the ads that appear alongside news coverage help fund the journalists who write breaking news stories, and keep news sites and apps running," he said.

Earlier this week, Google launched a Journalism Emergency Relief Fund for small, medium and local news publishers globally. The funding is open to news organisations producing original news for local communities during this time of crisis, and will range from the low thousands of dollars for small hyper-local newsrooms to low tens of thousands for larger newsrooms, with variations per region. Publishers everywhere can apply for funds via a simple application form.

Google's philanthropy arm, Google.org, has also donated US$1 million collectively to the International Center for Journalists, which plans to provide immediate resources to support reporters globally, and the Columbia Journalism School's Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma, which is helping journalists exposed to traumatic events experienced during the crisis.

In March, Facebook pledged to invest $100 million to support the news industry during COVID-19: $25 million of which will be provided in grant funding for local news organisations, with the remaining $75 million to come in the form of “additional marketing spend” to worldwide news organisations.