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Google “open” to expanding digital publishing innovation fund to the UK

Google is considering launching a similar digital innovation fund in the UK, similar to that launched in France last year, which would help British newspapers and magazines boost their digital revenues.

Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google, was questioned by the Guardian’s editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger at the Big Tent Activate Summit in New Delhi, India. Talking about a possible expansion to the UK, Schmidt said: "I'm sure we can talk about it."

He continued: "The reason I like this model is I don't like the idea of randomly writing cheques to publishers in the old model. I think it's a very good idea for Google to assist in the transition of their business model from old to new, so it's a very good positioning."

It comes after Google helped French news organisations with a €60 million (£52 million) deposit into a fund for digital innovation.

France's newspaper industry has been vocal about the fact it believes Google should pay for displaying news content in its search results, and through this agreement French news groups can profit from Google's advertising platforms, such as AdSense and AdMob.

Schmidt offered an example as a potential model for newspapers in the way of political website, Politico, which has 1,000 subscribers paying more than $8,000 (£5,200) a year and is launching a quarterly print publication.

Referring to newspapers, he said it was "a reasonable prediction that incumbent businesses who already have subscribers will transition them into online subscribers".

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Jennifer Faull

Jen Faull is deputy news editor at The Drum with a remit to cover the latest developments in the retail and FMCG sectors. Based in London, she has interviewed major business figures including top marketers from Mondelez, Unilever, Tesco, and Lidl.

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