Google to waive ad fees for publishers as part of journalism relief fund

Topics Google | Coronavirus | Lockdown

Google Ad Manager, the service for which fees are being waived, is the most-used ad serving tool among news publishers

Google said Friday it would waive fees for publishers using its Ad Manager platform for the next five months as part of its efforts to support news organisations reeling under the coronavirus pandemic.

The move comes in addition to Google's "journalism relief fund" announced this week, which will include emergency grants to news outlets. Jason Washing, head of global news partnerships at Google, said details would be announced in the coming days and disclosed to news outlets that meet certain requirements.

"During times of global crisis, people rely on quality journalism to stay informed and safe," Washing said in a blog post.

"And the ads that appear alongside news coverage help fund the journalists who write breaking news stories, and keep news sites and apps running. " Washing said ad serving fees for qualifying news publishers globally would be waived for the next five months.

Google Ad Manager, the service for which fees are being waived, is the most-used ad serving tool among news publishers, in part because of its low cost of pennies per every thousand ads shown to users. For smaller operations, it is free.

The larger expense for publishers are deals with Google and other technology partners that help them auction off ad slots.

Google said it is still working on other ways to provide financial support to news organizations. The move by Google comes with news organizations getting hammered by a weak economy and downturn in advertising even as they ramp up coverage of the global health crisis.

Google said this week it would offer grants as part of its relief efforts ranging from the "low thousands of dollars" for the smallest operations to "low tens of thousands for larger newsrooms."

It did not set an aggregate figure for the fund. Facebook on March 30 said it was donating $100 million to support news organizations globally hurting from the coronavirus pandemic. This includes $25 million in grants and ramped up ad spending by the social media giant.

In recent months Facebook and Google have stepped up efforts to help news organizations, following criticism that their dominance of online advertising has made it difficult for media to profit from digital operations.



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