Google launches Project Neon
Google is ramping up support for an industry it has been accused of wiping out with its new venture, “Project Neon.” The venture a several million dollar investment in a local British publisher Archant, which publishes Eastern Daily Press and several local titles in London.
The collaborative effort between Google and Archant will aim at setting up digital news sites in three British regions that will experiment with various commercial approaches, such as building relationships with local businesses with the aim of attracting advertising and philanthropy. The project is expected to run for three years before the new outlets will be able to sustain themselves. It is also Google’s first project outside the United States.
Matt Kelly, chief content officer at Archant, said, “Many regional news businesses had become reliant on so-called programmatic advertising — the buying and selling of advertising space on automated exchanges — rather than direct relationships with local companies.”
Google launched its News Initiative last summer, pledging $300m over three years to support journalism business models in the digital age. The move comes after the company faced criticism alongside Facebook for their roles as gatekeepers of information and news.
Chinnappa, director of news ecosystem development at Google said, “Local news groups were vital to keeping people “informed about their communities and the news they care about”. He called the partnership between Archant and Google an effort to “rethink local news from the ground up for the age of digital”.
Mr. Kelly said the project was part of a bigger story. “How does the tech industry, which has contributed to many of the problems local news face, become involved in helping solve the problem?”