The Irish Times selected for Google News Initiative Subscriptions Academy 2022

The Irish Times has been selected, along with seven European publishers to participate in the Google News Initiative Subscriptions Academy 2022. Google, the International News Media Association (INMA), and FT Strategies last month launched the third edition of the Google News Initiative (GNI) Subscriptions Academy for Europe (previously Subscriptions Lab), an ambitious and intensive eight-month programme that will address every step of the digital subscriptions process, from discovery to conversion to retention.

The programme is designed to strengthen and accelerate growth of the subscription businesses and help publishers deliver customised plans such as optimising the sales funnel and developing new monetisation strategies. Building on the success of last year’s edition, the 2022 programme attracted applicants from publishers in 22 European countries.

The eight participants who have been selected following a rigorous selection process are:

The Irish Times (The Irish Times DAC), Ireland

Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (INFOR PL SA), Poland

Handelszeitung (Ringier Axel Springer), Switzerland

La Repubblica (GEDI Digital SRL) Italy

Observador (Observador On Time), Portugal

Der Spiegel (Spiegel-Verlag) Germany

Hamburger Abendblatt (Funkemedien), Germany

 Jutarnji list (Hanza Media), Croatia

The selection panel focused on ensuring that the final cohort of eight publishers represented a broad cross-section of the industry: a mix of local, regional, and national focus; a range of sizes of publisher; and participants at different stages of their subscriptions journey. This exciting cohort of publishers helps to spread the Academy’s benefits across the European publishing landscape.

Speaking at the first visit by the FT Strategies team to Irish Times headquarters in Tara Street, Clíona Mooney, Subscriptions and Reader Insights Director, commented, “The Irish Times team is delighted to have been selected as one of eight European publishers on the Google News Initiative Subscriptions Academy. It’s 7 years since we were the first daily news publisher in Ireland to launch a digital subscriptions model and accelerating growth is a key priority for us and fundamental to our revenue strategy. Our goal is to create a sustainable future that allows us to provide our readers with a best-in-class news service. The rigour and innovation which the GNI Subscriptions Academy will deliver with The Irish Times team will contribute enormously to the next phase in our growth and development.”

Sulina Connal, Director, News and Publishing Partnerships, EMEA, GoogleWe are committed to supporting the future of news publishing and are so pleased to be extending our partnership with FT Strategies and INMA to bring you the third round of GNI Subscriptions Academy for Europe. The programme will enable participating publishers to learn the mechanisms to strengthen their digital subscriptions capabilities and grow reader revenue.

Tara Lajumoke, Managing Director, FT StrategiesWe’re proud that 16 publishers from 11 different countries have now participated in Subs Academy. All have consistently rated the experience very highly and enjoyed strong reader revenue results following the programme – including 31%
subscriptions growth for our 2020 cohort one year on. Much has changed in the industry over the past two years, but the importance of capturing the reader revenue opportunity has remained a pressing constant. This programme remains a proven way to execute an in-depth diagnostic of subscriptions performance and lay the foundations for the organisational transformation required by news publishers to achieve meaningful change.”

Earl J. Wilkinson, Executive Director and CEO, International News Media Association (INMA)The Google News Initiative Subscriptions Academy is a valued contributor to European publishers’ evolution, and INMA is pleased to partner on this third annual class with GNI and FT Strategies. During the past three years of INMA’s Readers First Initiative, news media publishers who are INMA members, on average, doubled their subscription base. At the same time, some brands grew faster — the 25% best-performing brands grew their digital subscriber base 7.5 times and revenue 3.2 times faster than the bottom 50%. The fastest-growing brands have built an engine for growth. This includes culture, strategy, structure, and workflows. In this year’s academy, we will share the best practices from the INMA network aiming at accelerating the transformation of the selected companies.”

About The Irish Times

The Irish Times Group is Ireland’s leading quality news media publisher comprising two national titles, The Irish Times and Irish Examiner, seven regional newspapers, two radio stations, and a number of other digital assets, and the largest contract printer in Ireland.

About Google News Initiative and Digital Growth Programme

The Subscriptions Academy is a part of the Google News Initiative’s (GNI) Digital Growth Programme, which was created to provide European news publishers with training and other resources to grow their digital business. The Google News Initiative represents Google’s largest-ever effort to help journalism thrive in the digital age. Through its partnerships, programs and products, the Google News Initiative works with thousands of organisations worldwide to support quality independent journalism, financial sustainability, and development of new technologies that drive innovation. Google allocated US$300 million over three years to energise these collaborations, and to lay the foundation for new products and programs for a diverse set of news publishers, to benefit the entire ecosystem. This includes supporting thought leadership on topics like consumer revenue, advertising, and data that are critical to the future of the news industry.
About FT Strategies

FT Strategies is the digital growth consultancy from the Financial Times, providing the expert insight, integrity and consulting excellence required to transform its clients’ future based on real world, first-hand experience. FT Strategies empowers your ambitions by delivering a sustainable growth strategy, built upon leading-edge capabilities that improve your customer engagement, retention, revenues and profit. Staffed by the experts who successfully transformed the FT’s business model in the face of disruption, FT Strategies works with other organisations worldwide from a wide range of sectors, helping them grow their digital revenue, increase customer engagement and future-proof their businesses. The firm has deep expertise in reader revenue, customer engagement, and analytics, enabling companies to build profitable digital relationships with their audiences, thrive in the new digital economy, and future-proof their business.
About INMA

The International News Media Association (INMA) is a global community of market-leading news media companies reinventing how they engage audiences and grow revenue in a multi-
platform environment. The INMA community consists of 16,000+ members at 850 media companies in 70+ countries and features strategic initiatives dedicated to digital subscriptions, data, and product.

Pictured (L to R ) are: Paul Mulvaney, Group Managing Director, The Irish Times; Liat Fainman-Adelman, Senior Consultant, FT Strategies; Clíona Mooney, Subscriptions and Reader Insights Director, The Irish Times; Sahas Bhatia, Consultant, FT Strategies; Tim Part, Senior Manager, FT Strategies