GNI APAC Innovation Challenge Town Hall – November 13, 2019

IRENE LIU: Hi, everyone Welcome to the second Asia-Pacific GNI Innovation Challenge town hall My name is Irene Liu And I’m the News Lab lead for the Asia-Pacific region at Google We’re really excited to be able to talk to you about the Innovation Challenge And with me, we have Ludo and Sarah, who will introduce themselves If you guys want to wave and say hello SARAH HARTLEY: Hi, I’m Sarah I work on the GNI Innovation Challenges and look after the people who are applying, and the people that are receiving the funding So nice to meet everyone LUDOVIC BLECHER: Thank you very much for hosting us, Irene Thanks everyone from joining I’m Ludovic I’m the head of GNI Innovation And I’m leading the GNI Innovation Challenges program We have no more than 20 people attending We know that other will join So this is great What we want to do is just to take the opportunity to walk through the GNI challenges Because, as you know, we are opening a new code for project in the region And we want everyone to understand how it works So you can just take the opportunity to apply It’s all about stimulating innovation, all about creativity So it’s going to be about 20 minute presentation I would explain you the [INAUDIBLE] event principle of the challenges Then Sarah will take some inspiring examples And we will explain you also how we are reviewing the project, how we are assessing the project And then we will take your questions So be ready for questions And we start with the presentation now IRENE LIU: Right Actually, if I could just jump in, in the live chat, if you have questions while you are listening to the presentation, please feel free to just go ahead and start typing your questions into the live chat After the presentation portion is over, we will read aloud those questions and put Ludo and Sarah in the hot seat So definitely start typing away here LUDOVIC BLECHER: And we have now almost 25 viewers So it’s great Thank you very much for joining this So the GNI Innovation Challenges program, with an s, we are now speaking about challenges Because we started about one year ago in your region, in Asia-Pacific We’ve prototyped a call for a project for news innovator And the idea was just to be open abroad around the specific topic, specific team and to ask for creative ideas We launched about one year ago the round one in Asia-Pacific Yes, you can change slide, Irene please So we started in your region about one year ago And call for project was around readers revenue How can you generate more revenues coming from readers from [INAUDIBLE],, right? And it has been really interesting to see the diversity of project I will explain you right after But because we really saw the traction, the interest for it, we decided to just go global So thank you very much because the success of the first round of Asia-Pacific pushed Google to make these GNI Challenge a global program So now we are having challenges to stimulate innovation in North America, in Latin America At the moment, we are reviewing applications from Middle East and Africa for the first time ever And as committed, we are back to Asia-Pacific So let me step back a little bit and talk about round one So round one, again, was about reader’s revenue And we were amazed first by the diversity of the application We received 215 applications from 18 country in– 18 countries in the region At the end of the day, after an in-depth review process, we selected 23 projects from 14 countries But the more interesting is to see how diverse was where the proposal to take

on this challenge of reader’s revenue When we think about reader’s revenue, you can have the feeling that the answer is payroll, payroll, and payroll But it was not just that It went way beyond just the payroll We had project about gamification We had project about dynamic pricing We had project about membership, loyalty program, churn rate reduction, increase of consumption of news We had a conversion program So a diverse, a very diverse range of ideas And trust me, it was very hard to make a choice And we also got the feedback from many of you that the application process in itself, even if not selected, helped you to kind of frame your idea, go in-depth through it, and define better your vision At the end, we selected, again, 23 project in 14 countries And we started noticing the progress And this is something we’re going to share in the year to come Because the projects selected all committed to share their learning and the knowledge of the– and the main [INAUDIBLE] of their project So now let’s go to the next slide and what makes the reason for our Hangout today We are very proud and very happy to announce the launch of the second round of the Google News Initiative Innovation Challenge in your region again, in Asia-Pacific One thing before digging into the specific theme of this round, and we can go to next slide I really want to underline and to repeat again and again that this challenge is open to everyone You can be an established newspaper You can be a new start-up You can be online only player, a local and regional newspaper Any– a broadcaster, anyone can apply We are really looking at the idea, and the diversity is a very, very important component of the stimulation process, right So really, it’s open It’s broad Think big So what is the second round about? The second round will be all about reader’s engagement We want creative projects that are tackling the challenge of creating new forms of engagement with readers Why did we do that? Because readers engagement means many thing that help you to threaten to go deeper in your links with the audience And it can capture many different ideas It’s, in some way, broader than just reader’s revenue It can goes with creation of new revenues But it can go also with just an increasement of the consumption, a new way to engage the conversation, a new way to build relationships with your audiences And we want to see your ideas around that So let me be a bit more specific Next slide please Irene So what do we mean here? We are looking at any kind of ideas of project to make the users more interested in your content offer, more actively engaged, more passionate about why– what your brand is offering, in terms of content consumption So any ways to increase the time spent on your website, to increase the number of page view, to increase the loyalty, or to find a way to maybe gamify or engage better your readership And the effort of your project can be focused on, again, a huge diversity of topics, from subscriptions, membership, or any way to transform members into–

to transform the audience into a member or subscriber So it’s not just about payment It’s about any way to increase the relationship with your readers, to increase the value of the brand Any kind of new digital product of new features to increase the interaction and to deepen the relationship with your audience will be eligible as well So it can be about community management It can be about user generated content It can be about building more trust So it’s really a broad topic And there is a lot of room for creativity in there So the range of project can be really varied But let’s be clear, this is not clickbait We are not just expecting to have project that will increase the numbers of page view without any value So it shouldn’t be a kind of fake increasement of the time spent on pages, but a real enhancement of the relationship with your readership Now I’m going to give the floor to Sarah And Sarah will share some inspiring examples SARAH HARTLEY: Hi, thanks Ludo So I’m going to talk a little bit about some projects that involve reader engagement And by showing you some of these, you’ll see this sort of great variety that could fit into that category But I should say, this isn’t kind of a menu of things we want to see This was a different region This was in Europe So things are going to be slightly different there, obviously But I hope it would just give some inspiration about what can be done, in terms of what we see as reader engagement So I’m going to start first with a project which comes from Ireland, from Ara, the Republic of Ireland And they have a very long established newspaper there They wanted to engage better with their diaspora audience, island’s obviously a very small place And a lot of people go and migrate across the world And they wanted to find a way of engaging with those people So they came up with a simple idea, that it would be a special section that was carried online that would allow people to connect And they’d be able to monetize And they’d have a deeper connection with them What they’ve ended up with is this, what they call Irish Times Abroad It’s a detailed database of more than 35,000 highly engaged readers, in 140 different countries worldwide They’ve built a big social media followings They now have basically a working relationship with journalists around the world, who are interested in Irish diaspora issues So as well as being able to monetize these people as members of this club, of this Irish Abroad club, they can also get great input into their content for any incident that happens worldwide that might have an impact on their Irish diaspora So that’s the first example from The Irish Times A second one, again in Europe, all of these are European examples But this is very different This is in Spain, where the news organization wanted to find a way to easily engage with people on the ground, while the reporters were on the ground This is kind of rural area It’s kind of dispersed area And they felt they needed to be able to be in touch with their readers right there at ground level So they came up with two things. two softwares One is what they called a hyper-local listener And the other is their community manager And as it sounds, the listener was really looking at all the things people were doing in the hyper-local area So there’s local sports reports, news, things that are going on in the community and brought that to the local reporters Whereas the community manager was the software that enabled them to do that So they found that this was a really good way of engaging with 11 million unique users that that news organization has, but in a completely different way to the way they had done before I’m going to talk about it a completely different organization this is from Belgium And it’s from a financial publisher Now the financial publisher’s got a long history of leading the way in monetizing digital content Obviously, that’s slightly different from a local news organization in that way They basically wanted to find a more granular way of dealing with their members and subscribers

They have digital subscribers They expect daily updates of sort of key market information, things that are important to financial decision making But they found that, really, one way that they could engage better with them was to automate a certain amount of that material, and then be able to use the reporters in a better way and create new newspaper– newsletters, and really drive subscriptions, and raise consumption of their project They also found an increased conversion as well A nice side effect of this, wasn’t their primary aim, but a nice side effect of this, is it saved their journalists up to 30 minutes a day that they could spend doing bespoke, niche content, and present them in a better light in that way And I think this is the final example I’ve got to give you And this is from the Netherlands And it’s from an NGO So we’ve had a local newspaper We’ve had a financial publisher We’ve had a big national newspaper This is something different, an NGO They wanted to involve their readers in their investigative journalism So their site is called Follow the Money So as it sounds, it enables people to look at where money flows and find out good stories as to what’s happening with it But they decided to gamify the whole process, so that the reader, member, user base could come along and be part of the investigation but didn’t have to train to be journalists They could involve themselves in this sort of gamified approach to it This app is up and running But I’m afraid you’ll have to speak Dutch to understand it But it’s driving their community and has given them also a bit of a media literacy angle Because they’re able to actually explain to people what’s involved in investigative journalism So it’s been a really worthwhile project for them So I hope those ideas inspire a little But we’ll now talk a little bit more about the criteria for when you apply as well So how this all works, basically you’ll see from the website, it gives you greater detail on this But you’ll see that Google funds up to 250,000 US dollars for a project But the actual project should be at a value greater than that, because Google only supports 70% of the overall costs OK So we don’t need every application to be $250,000 It can be any amount up to that So if you’ve got a small project, it’s still worth applying to this It’s not just for those sort of larger projects Google funding will cover lots of eligible expenses, so personnel, your engineering work, equipment costs, marketing expenses, to a limit, a lot of things But it won’t be covering your editorial cost Obviously, it’s a news organization That’s something you’re already covering So the Google project money doesn’t cover that We say to you that really we want a maximum– it’s really, it’s one application per legal entity But in the cases of a very large organization, we could take a maximum of three projects from your group We’re looking really for just one project per brand OK If there’s any questions on that, we can go into greater detail shortly I’m afraid applications have to be submitted in English OK So if we go to the next slide Just to sum up what we’re looking for, the project should be specific around online news Obiviously it is a news innovation funding, so that’s what we’re looking for, things around online news We say the main component should be digital That doesn’t mean the only component has to be digital, but the main one So it could be a mix of broadcast, of print, but somewhere in there has to be digital And the digital is our focus of attention And then finally, the focus can be just from your organization or collaborative It’s one of our big aims with the Innovation Challenges to inspire some collaboration with others So we’re very supportive of collaborative projects You could be a collaborator with another news organization, with a technology company, university, individuals that are just interested and inspired by the news space, whatever it is

We’re very keen to hear from collaborative projects But you can also simply apply from just your one organization Just to save your time and make sure that, you know, you’re understanding the limits of this, these are things that are not eligible We won’t be looking at projects that are only about content creation So you may have a great idea for a new niche in topic terms that’s not being covered elsewhere, but that’s not for us, I’m afraid We’re looking for things that are tangible about reader engagement We’re not looking to upgrade legacy publishing systems, creaky old CMS I’m afraid you’ll have to kind of find that elsewhere, because that’s not for us either So this call is very much about reader engagement We also don’t fund training or education programs That’s things that are happening in a classroom, things that are workshops that are put on that bring people up with digital technology training, and things like that That’s not for this particular fund There are many other funds for that We do need to see some evidence of a monetization plan for your reader engagement program That’s what it’s all about We want to see how you– let us know how that’s going to work for you We don’t back pure research And by that we mean the kind of academic research that’s going on in many other places and there are many other funders for Obviously with all innovations there is an element of research, but we’re not funding pure research OK So how do we judge the things that come in? And as you’ve seen from Ludo’s presentation earlier, we had more than 200 applications that came in for the first round of the Asia-Pacific call Every single one of those applications is viewed and is– go a little bit more detail in a minute about who views them Every single one that comes in is reviewed by more than one person And what they’re looking for is, first of all, the impact that that project might have on the news ecosystem So not just on the applicant but also on the news ecosystem more generally How might it have an impact? It might be that it provides great learnings it might provide something direct of impact, by– and obviously, we want to see it have impacts on reader engagement We’ll be looking also how innovative it is Now we deliberately don’t define innovation, that depends where you are on your journey And we take that into account But we ask you to tell us why your idea is innovative And it’s one of the things we look at during the assessment process And we’re looking also, obviously, to see how you’re going to use technology in that innovation We then look at feasibility Is it something that can be done? And are you the best people to do it? And how do we judge that, we ask you to tell us how you’re going to measure, and how you’re going to follow this project How are you going to manage it? How are you going to deal with it? How are you going to judge its success? We look at that for feasibility And finally, and importantly, it’s certainly not the least of this list, we look for how inspiring your idea is Will it really sort of give something back to the news community? Will they be inspired by what they see? Will they be tempted towards their own innovation ? Will they be able to learn from it? And we ask you how you will share the learnings that you get from this project with everybody else, in order to engender that inspiration A little bit on governance, there’s two stages The first stage when all the applications come in, as is to say, they are all seen And they are seen by our project team You can have a look online to see the full names But Ludovic and Irene on this call are both members of that project team They will look through them all They come up with a shortlist That shortlist is interviewed And then we look at basically things that we want to hear more about After those interviews, there’s a final shortlist produced And that goes to what we call our jury And the jury is a bit like a second chamber, if you like

It’s a mix of Google executives and industry experts that are independent from the project team And they vote on the final decision for the projects and the final funding decisions OK I’m going to hand back to Ludo in a second But I’d just like to point out that you can, obviously, apply online You apply with an online form But you can download it ahead of time And I’d really recommend doing that Have a good look through the questions, prepare your questions, you know, on a separate document So you could literally copy and paste it into the form when it comes to the time We try and keep it as straightforward as possible We try and keep it as simple as possible But there is a certain level of detail there It’s important that you give some time to working on this Talk to your teams Talk to your collaborators Really kind of get a brainstorm going on this, so that you get the full idea down on this application form Because that, at the end of the day, is what the assessors are going to see And that may be the only thing they know about you So it’s well worth downloading and working on it ahead of time With that, I wish you good luck And I’ll hand you back to Ludo and look forward to your questions LUDOVIC BLECHER: Thank you very much Sarah And I cannot agree more with what you say Just go online Take time to read carefully the terms and condition I’m going to share here tips from applicants, which are basically a repetition to what you’ve said Sarah And I want to repeat and repeat it again So go online, look at the terms and conditions But more important, read in depth and carefully the frequently asked questions Then, as Sarah said, you go in the application form And even if I’m really digital, I will recommend you to print it in a piece of paper You take your piece of paper, you put it in the printer You print the application form And you start going through it with your colleagues And you will see that the real opportunity is this period of time where you can just step back from the daily operation, break the silos, and work with other teams to build the vision around one specific project And selected or not, you will, I’m pretty sure, learn a lot during this process And that will create a rich stimulation and maybe other ideas will come out of this project So, again, go on the website, read carefully, and start working on your application The project you’re going to submit shouldn’t last for more than one year We expect the completion to be done in one year I’d say collaborative project are really welcome Any kind of collaboration can work You don’t have to come with a collaborate project But we really like it, because it’s part of the stimulation Always think about including clear indicators in your project, so you can send an email After the submission of the application form, you send an email to, and you can attach any indicators you want So expectation in terms of audience, any metrics, business plan when relevant, any indicator is useful for us And also, tell us in depths about who you are, who is the team behind Think about the impact on the news ecosystem and really describe, how do you plan to share the learnings, what you would have to share with the ecosystem We also really always recommend you to submit a presentation of about 8 to 10 slides explaining exactly what is your project So the presentation should start by, what is the real problem you are trying to tackle? How do you plan to take a lead? Why your project is different from what other have done, so we kind of benchmark some indicators And who is the team behind? What are your expectations? So already having a presentation submitted with your application also help a lot for the assessment No funding will be available for pure content creation of research

So it cannot be just about content Editorial cost are not eligible on the GNI funding path So you can factor in into the total budget, so I remind you that we are funding up to 70% of the total cost of a project So editorial can be part of your 30% But we are not funding that And training and education program are not eligible Quick look at the timeline So next slide please Irene So we’ve opened the application window on October the– end of October And we’re going to close the application window on January the 7th We already receive email asking for– and by the way, there is a typo on this slide So it’s not December 7 It’s clearly January the 7 So after the holiday season, the winter break, the Christmas break So people will receive some email asking for a bit of an extension We cannot extend, right So it’s going to be ready end of first week of January And why? Because we’ve just learned through all the calls of project we’ve done that there is never a perfect duration And people tend to work anyway last minute So we’ve decided to give much more time than for round one It’s more than two months My recommendation is don’t wait for the last minute to start working on it If you fill the form pretty last minute, that’s fine We are used to that We would prefer you to fill it before But that’s OK But don’t wait to start iterating, brainstorming, and coming with your ideas, and reading all the information Last slide, as a reminder, we are always, always very happy to answer questions So don’t hesitate to reach out,, We always answer within 48 hours So don’t hesitate to ask question, to ask specific question We are more than happy to get back to you And all information on our website, And now we’re going to take your questions IRENE LIU: Great Thank you so much We have a few questions from the chat So Peter from New Zealand asks, what does Google want in return for the funding opportunity? LUDOVIC BLECHER: OK I take the first one and Sarah, you will take the second one then Someone needs to start So what do we want? Honestly, I’m going to be very straightforward here What we want is to stimulate innovation And what we want is to have creative projects So it’s really about creating this period of innovation and giving room to test new ideas This is not Google’s project It’s not about Google product This is your project You own– all recipients own the IP And they are totally responsible and free to develop their project as they want The only thing we are requesting are the following, first, we want to make sure the money is going to the projects So we follow of the project We give 50% of the funding before the project starts And then we have one milestone where we check the expenditure and the progress of the project And then we have another installment and trench of funding And you can continue the project So we want to keep the relationship and offer, along the way, opportunities to share the knowledge at industry events, through use cases and stuff But this is really your project And you are free to use Google product or not This is really your call, your decision You own the IP IRENE LIU: Great We have another question from Glenn, who asks– this is his very specific question about budgeting Does the marketing cost, which is capped at 20%, include a salary for sales, or is that considered separate? SARAH HARTLEY: OK I’ll take that Glenn

So marketing costs are capped at 20% That’s 20% of the funding received from Google OK So just to make that clear, so what do we mean by marketing, you’ve also got budget lines of personnel, obviously So in terms of sales people, it depends where you put them Marketing, we wouldn’t necessarily think of as people but more as the activities So what marketing is going on? Are you buying advertising? Are you putting up outdoors? Whatever marketing activity that you’re producing, that would have to be within the 20% of the Google funding So I hope that’s clear But the personnel involved in it could be different sorts of people LUDOVIC BLECHER: Yeah, I’m really seeing that the marketing is more the promotion of the product which is really important How we can add to our go-to-market plan, how you can promote it And the salesperson, if you don’t really have it in the company, maybe it may be a relevant to put some salesperson in personnel But most of the time, we don’t really expect salesperson to be included in But if it’s relevant, I would recommend more to put it to personnel than into marketing IRENE LIU: Great We have another question from Damian And he said, “is Google interested in specific groups of readers, for example, readers in Asia-Pacific versus global readership?” LUDOVIC BLECHER: So the answer is, ask the question to yourself The project should be coherent and consistent We are not in your shoes And this is not us telling what we are interested in We are interested in projects that make sense for you that will deepen the relationship between a specific publisher brand and the audience And you to explain us why your approach with the specific group of readers you want to engage and to deepen the links with is relevant, depending of who you are So it’s a very good question to ask yourself But we don’t want to be prescriptive SARAH HARTLEY: It’s perhaps just worth adding on to that the organization making the application needs to be based in Asia-Pacific, but the communities you serve could potentially be elsewhere But the organization itself needs to be based in Asia-Pacific region And the countries that are covered by what we’re referring to as Asia-Pacific region are all on the website as well IRENE LIU: Great We have a question from Damian again “Could you provide some good examples of how other organizations have shared their learnings?” SARAH HARTLEY: We– I can’t really kind of provide them in this format Because what we’re doing is, some people are producing things like white papers, some people are producing things like videos, some people are producing documents to help us And some people are standing up on stage and presenting their ideas and sharing their inspiration So people are coming up with all sorts of different ways that they’re going to share that So obviously we will try and amplify what they’re doing as much as we can That is the point, after all, that they’re trying to share that knowledge So keep an eye out And as the first Asia-Pacific people kind of start completing on their projects, we’ll be sharing a lot more But when it comes to filling in the applications, what we’re looking for is you to tell us how are you going to share that knowledge Those are just a few ideas, but it could be anything You could have a new idea that we’d love to hear about LUDOVIC BLECHER: Yeah, and [INAUDIBLE] to that, we will, along the way, offer opportunities So for example, we can be in touch And say, at this industry event that is not necessarily a Google event, they are looking for interesting projects about subscription, about how did you reduce the churn rate or how did you improve the number of subscribers to a specific niche product And we would get back to you, and put you in touch, and ask you if you want to share some learnings of your project

We would also might be in touch to suggest that you participate to an event we are doing, just to connect with other news innovators One thing I can recommend you is to have a look at the blog post we’ve done when we launched the [INAUDIBLE] role of the GNI Challenge in Asia-Pacific Irene did an interview with a project in India where she asked some questions about innovation about their project This is an example of knowledge sharing You can also have a look on GNI website You will find a specific section about the GNI Fund, which is the fund we’ve done in Europe to stimulate innovation during the last three years in Europe And you will see in there a lot of use cases You have video examples, you have reports underlining some interesting part of specific projects So there is a lot of inspiration there And that’s a good example of the opportunities you might see along the way IRENE LIU: Great We have a very great question, actually, from Peter Fowler, who asks, “You referred to engagement with, quote, ‘readers,’ but is listeners OK, particularly if it has a strong digital element?” LUDOVIC BLECHER: Yes Listeners, viewers– engagement is in many ways So I love when we are asking for you to be innovative and you are pushing us into these kind of questions Because yes, innovation and diversity are keywords here So of course listeners, viewers, [INAUDIBLE] IRENE LIU: Great We have another question “Could the marketing component fund a stand at a big media conference to promote the product?” SARAH HARTLEY: Do you want me to start? Yeah, it could But again, we want to know why You tell us what you’re going to get from this stand So you tell us where it’s going to be, who is going to see it, why are you doing it, how are you going to measure the success of it Make the case for it, basically We want to hear your marketing ideas But you need to tell us why that’s the best way of doing it IRENE LIU: Great So I would encourage anyone else who is on the call to please, if you have any questions, we will stick around for a few more minutes But thank you so much to New Zealand We had many, many questions from Down Under, which is fantastic I guess a question for Ludo and Sarah, I mean, are there any other tips or recommendations that you have for the applicants? LUDOVIC BLECHER: Sarah SARAH HARTLEY: I mean, on the very practical front, I’d say get your teams together and talk through your ideas as soon as you can, and start documenting them And do download the application form ahead of time So a very practical one from me LUDOVIC BLECHER: Yeah, and very practical one from me is really do a presentation slide Eight to 10 slides presentation is really useful It’s useful for you to walk through your ideas and really go more straight to the point, and clarify it It’s really, really useful for us to understand it better And my second recommendation is really think from a user perspective This is about reader engagement, seeing from a reader’s perspective, not just what do you want to achieve, but what will be the value for them I think it’s super important And one last thing I want to underline is a question we have pretty often about the language Applications are in English only But I really want to make super clear that this is not about assessing the quality of the English This is not [INAUDIBLE] So feel free to use Google Translate or any translation tool as much as you want We will really look at this We won’t challenge you at all on the language So really take this easy We are doing English only in every region And we recommend you not to see this as an obstacle

IRENE LIU: Great Well, I think we are near time So thank you all so much for joining us at the town hall Thank you, Ludo and Sarah, for answering all the questions and giving that fantastic presentation And do reach out If you have questions about the application process, please definitely go to And also hit the website,, because there is a very comprehensive FAQ, and any question you have will likely be in there somehow But if you for some reason you don’t see the answer, definitely reach out to us and we will get back to you Thanks all very much again for joining Thank you, Ludo and Sarah And have a great evening Take care LUDOVIC BLECHER: Thank you very much, Irene Thank you very much for this And thanks, everyone, for joining SARAH HARTLEY: Thank you and good luck