After the massive success of GNI last year, Readwhere is all set to launch its Google News Initiative (GNI) 2.0 in collaboration with Google. To introduce and inform the publishers about the same, both the companies together conducted a webinar on “GNI Advertising Lab for India” yesterday. The key speakers of this webinar were Shilpa Jhunjhunwala, Head of News Partnerships & APAC news Program Management at Google; Fazal Ashfaq, Head of News Partnerships South Asia & South-East Asia Emerging Markets at Google, and Manish Dhingra, CEO and Founder, Mediology Software.
Manish Dhingra commenced the webinar by presenting a crisp comparison between 2010 and 2021 in terms of mobile content format and consumption. He briefed the attendees on how the number of mobile users has grown gigantically, landing the number at 776 million in 2021 from a mere 97 million in 2010.
He also spoke about the changing content format over the years and the challenges faced by small and medium enterprises. “Limited technical knowhow, Covid restrictions, data-driven decisions, and how to incorporate AI/ML are some of the challenges faced by small and medium enterprises”, he said. Earlier companies were larger but now they have turned more mobile, content, and data driven. His words swiftly set the context, tone, and foundation of the entire webinar, which was further led by Google representatives, Shilpa and Fazal.
Google launched GNI three years ago and the aim of this program is to support small and medium-sized news organizations that produce original news for local and regional communities in India. It helps them receive product support and technical implementation to grow their ad revenues. The program is organized around three pillars—evolve business models, elevate quality journalism, and empower newsrooms with the latest technology. Shilpa emphasized on the first pillar and the opportunities unfurled by technology including different forms of storytelling, platforms to raise diverse voices, etc. “We can provide newsrooms with training, technology and tools that they never had before”, she added.
Fazal began with sharing two case studies of last year’s GNI and how this program helped the respective enterprises. He stressed upon the significance of information particularly regional information amid pandemic times. He briefed about the structure of the program that comprises digital ad revenue increment, digital infrastructure and skill improvement, and best practices for sustainable business model. He later gave detailed information on the application process including eligibility criteria, application requirements, selection criteria, and the overall timeline of this program.
The webinar was concluded with Q/A questions in which all the speakers answered the queries of attendees.