2015 is a very interesting year in the world of news publishing, as tech giants Apple, Facebook and Google up their efforts to become distribution partners, while publishers try to maintain control of their editorial and their commercial income. The Guardian makes for a useful case study: it’s experimenting on pretty much every front.
Yesterday, it announced plans to establish “an innovation lab to develop and create new approaches to delivering news and information using mobile technology” funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. It’ll be based within the Guardian’s news operation with the aim of creating “new and more engaging ways for people to consume news on their mobile devices” – with mobile now accounting for more than 50% of the Guardian’s daily traffic. This, on top of recent announcements that the publication is a partner for Apple’s newly-announced news aggregation app Apple News; for Facebook’s Instant Articles scheme to host news articles on its own servers; and for Google’s Digital News Initiative that will see a separate €150m ‘innovation fund’ for publishers to figure out digital distribution.