Three cohorts of publishers across North America and Latin America to dig into curriculum that builds on earlier Subscriptions Labs

(November 5, 2020)Google News Initiative, in partnership with FTI Consulting, Local Media Association and the World Association of News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), today kicked off a new Lab with three cohorts of news organizations in the Americas to focus intensely on developing digital subscriptions strategies. Cohorts will be organized as “North America,” “Latin America,” and “Digital Natives,” which includes publishers from both regions. 

Local Media Association will offer expertise to the North American Lab participants, and WAN-IFRA will liaise with the Latin American publishers. The two industry associations will also report on case studies and best practices learned from the Lab in order to benefit the media industry overall.

As part of the GNI Digital Growth Program, a free program to help small and mid-sized news publishers around the world achieve digital success, the GNI Subscriptions Lab aims to help news organizations develop sustainable consumer revenue strategies. The program is based on learnings from work conducted in similar Labs over the last couple of years across the world — including the GNI Subscriptions Lab in North America that concluded in early 2020.

“Since launching the Google News Initiative, our driving focus has been to support the financial sustainability of organizations creating original, quality journalism,” said Ben Monnie, director of global news partnerships solutions at Google. “We’ve introduced several Labs in partnership with industry experts to help news organizations find success with reader revenue. We’re excited to extend those learnings through this accelerated program, conducted as part of our GNI Digital Growth Program,” 

Participants in the Lab will go through a 10-week curriculum, where they’ll have the opportunity to interact with each other, and receive personalized support and coaching from GNI, FTI, LMA and WAN-IFRA.  

GNI and FTI will follow the Reader Revenue curriculum from the Digital Growth Program, which launched free playbooks, interactive exercises and workshops in September, and help participating publishers implement the recommended best practices. In addition, participating publishers will develop tailored strategies to address each organization’s business needs. The progress of the cohort will be provided as examples and inspiration to other news organizations going through the Digital Growth Program workshops, which are available to all publishers on demand.

“Through our work with global news publishers, we’ve learned that a robust reader revenue business is a critical element to develop a sustainable business model for local news,” said Pete Doucette, managing director of FTI Consulting. “That’s why we are excited to partner again with the GNI, LMA, and WAN-IFRA on the Subs Lab. These cohort-based programs have a track record of accelerating reader revenue growth for publishers, and the Digital Growth Program tools will allow us to scale the learnings to the broader industry.”

“We at LMA are excited to build on all the great work, benchmarking tools and strategies from the GNI Subscriptions Lab,” said Nancy Lane, chief executive officer, Local Media Association. “The focused, intensive nature of this new lab should provide strong positive movement in participants’ consumer revenue streams. The whole industry can learn from this work.” 

“2021 will be a challenging year for news publishers in Latin America and reader revenue will increasingly be one of their strategic priorities,” said Rodrigo Bonilla, Americas director, WAN-IFRA. “We’re delighted to be part of this initiative, which comes at a particularly timely moment for the news industry and that we hope to help scale across the region.”

Here are the news organizations that will participate in each cohort of the Lab: