Six French newspapers have come together to create an online newsstand where readers will be able to buy and read their content. The initiative, which will be launched in September, was announced yesterday by France's National Daily Press Union as an alternative to Google News, El País reported.
However, in an e-mailed statement to SFN from Google's French office, Myriam Boublil, head of communications and public affairs, pointed out that Google does not currently advertise on its French version of Google News. Boublil stated that the company's position is that it welcomes "new attempts to find technologies and business models that will help journalism flourish online. We value quality journalism, which is why we work with news partners around the world to help them attract bigger audiences and generate revenue. That's what Google News is all about, and we're happy to see any new experimentation and innovation in this space."
The content's price on the virtual newsstand will be fixed by each daily and several subscription packages to either individual articles or an entire publication will be offered. "The monetization of the web contents, which has been agreed on by the editorial groups, is the main priority," according to Les Echos.
So far, Le Monde, Libération, Le Figaro, Les Echos, Le Parisien and L'Equipe have agreed to develop and finance the virtual newsstand. Nonetheless, editors expect other newspapers and magazines to join the project. The group is also trying to obtain state subventions offered to the press by the Sarkozy administration, ABC.es informed.
According to Xornal de Galicia, the six dailies are currently negotiating with Orange and Microsoft Bing to build the platform, which will be accessible by personal computer, mobile phone and e-reader gadgets like the iPad.
This is not the first time that French publications have tried to create a search engine to combat Google, La Repubblica reminded. Although previous attempts did not work, this is the first occasion in which dailies with such different editorial lines have agreed to work together.