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October 15, 2010 / Matt Gerardi

Google Partnering With Publishers to Devise Payment Plans

By all accounts news readership is way up across all platforms. According to a study by comScore, newspaper websites received 102.8 million unique visitors in September. That’s about 61 percent of adult Internet users (NAA).

Although there has been a significant growth in readership, media outlets are still struggling to figure out how to capitalize on this influx.

Google is reportedly attempting to help content providers work out a method of profiting from their online readership. Which organizations the technology giant are working with or the existence of official deals has yet to be announced.

Among the methods of profitibality Google is discussing are subscription models, micro-payment systems and smartphone and table- based applications.

“We see ourselves as a technology partner,” said Philipp Schindler, Google’s managing director for Central and Northern Europe.  “We are working with many publishers to determine if it’s possible to develop a payment platform” (Bloomberg).

Google seems to have a good view point on the issue. According to Schindler, the company understands that solutions must be publisher specific.

On a larger scale, this seems like Google’s first steps to enter into news media content competition with perennial rival Apple. Apple’s long-rumored newsstand initiative would create an iTunes like service for iPad owners, providing content creators with opportunities to charge subscriptions for digital versions of the media.

By partnering with media organizations to create a service closer to the Android market place — open, publisher friendly — than the iTunes store — strict, arguably designed for vertical integration — Google is adressing issues many critics of Apple’s newsstand program have brought up. This is also beneficial for Google as if they are successful in stealing partnerships from Apple, their content delivery platform could help push Android based tablets ahead of the iPad in the tablet market.

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