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Google unveils plans to charge for news content

September 10, 2009
Google has unveiled plans to introduce micropayments for news content published to its site from third party newspapers. The system aims to benefit news media organisations and comes following a request to Google for paid-for content issued by the Newspaper Association of America.

The New York Times reports that the micropayment system will be an extension of Google Checkout, the Mountain View giant's competitor to PayPal, and will work in a similar way to allow users to pay for third party content hosted on the site.

Google has stated: "While currently in the early planning stages, micropayments will be a payment vehicle available to both Google and non-Google properties within the next year.

"The idea is to allow viable payments of a penny to several dollars by aggregating purchases across merchants and over time."

Google's micropayment plan will also benefit other companies and has already received response from Microsoft, IBM and Oracle, but the service is of particular importance for news organisations who have long fought with Google over content issues. Many newspaper publishers have been severely affected by the global financial crisis and charging for online hosted content may help their prospects improve.

If Google's proposal goes ahead, the company will be in direct competition with Journalism Online, which claims to have tentatively signed 500 newspapers for its online distribution service. Google is looking at its paid content initiative as an effective complement to its existing advertising revenue, stating:

"While we believe that advertising will likely remain the main source of revenue for most news content, a paid model can serve as an important source of additional revenue. In addition, a successful paid content model can enhance advertising opportunities, rather than replace them."


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