The new €60M media fund from Google is already making waves, but not all good.

Sep 25, 2013
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French media has had some drama of its own this month. Journal Du Net released its report on fake contributors, who infiltrated comment threads and even acted as ‘analysts’ and contributing authors on publications including LesEchos, L’Express, Le Plus & even JournalDuNet itself;.media have been quick to erase, apologize and move on – we here on the Rude Baguette allow anyone to comment on our articles, but I’ve personally met & discussed with every writer who’s ever clicked the “publish’ button. In the meantime, Google finally opened up applications to its media fund (dubbed FINP).

Similar to government grant programs, the FINP fund promises to refund 60% of the company’s expenditures up to 2 Million euros per project, while qualified projects must meet the following qualifications

  1. They must create a new source of online revenue for online media companies, and/or:
  2. They must create new, innovative business models around content creation

In addition, the fund will look at a company’s ability to execute, current revenue, and audience size – noting that they will not exclude “startups” when examining these figures – however, it’s the last point which has begun making waves amongst independent editors.

All eligible candidates are required to be registered “IPG” – an accrediation afforded by the Association of political & general press (AIPG) – meaning that the entire fund is tied to one association, despite the existence of other associations, like SPIIL – “the independent online media union.” SPIIL has voiced their concerns(fr) about the connections between the Union AIPG and Google, noting that nothing in the Google fund application process requires candidates to conform to the rules of AIPG; however, all candidates are still required to be AIPG-accredited. SPIIL even goes so far as to claim that Google, the French Government & AIPG have purposefully kept private this behind-closed-doors deal, though the fund itself is noted as a “Google & AIPG” fund.

While it’s still not clear A) Why the fund is partnered with a media association & B) Why this fund is not being treated similar to, say, Google Ventures, ultimately Google is delivering on exactly what they promised – a digital media fund (with no equity-exchange) that helps traditional press create new revenue models online. Whether or not it’s simultaneously supporting certain French unions while denouncing others is still up for debate.

I really hope this article won’t be taken into account in our FINP application.

Photo via Mashable