Trinity Mirror promoted stories project receives Google funding

November 18, 2016

Trinity Mirror’s Digital Product team has won six-figure backing from Google for a project exploring new alternatives to promoted content widgets.

The grant comes from Google’s Digital News Initiative, which sees 124 innovative digital news projects across Europe receive a total of €24m.

Trinity Mirror is the only UK grant recipient among the 31 large projects to receive funding.

The project aims to benefit publishers, advertisers, and consumers, by proposing a new format, to initially be tested in mobile apps.

The proposal could see targeted promotional offers appearing at the bottom of publisher’s stories, as a way of bringing more value to readers, while avoiding most of the well-documented drawbacks of promoted content widgets.

Sam Pascoe, Product Manager, Mobile Applications & E-Editions, and lead on the project, said: “We’re really pleased to receive this recognition and support from Google.

“The funding will allow us to hire staff to work on the project full-time, opening up so many opportunities. 

“The aim is to test our proposition across our regional apps, making the most of our wide-ranging regional digital inventory.”

Elsewhere, a collaborative project involving UCLan’s Media Innovation Studio, Trinity Mirror Regionals and innovation consultancy Thomas Buchanan also won Google support to explore how the news media sector could harness the Internet of Things (IoT).

IoT is an emergent sector, and some suggest the potential to be the next digital revolution, The NewsThings project seeks to understand how news and journalism could harness connected things to find new ways of connecting with people and conveying stories.

Using ‘co-design’ methods, and working closely with editors and journalists from across the Trinity Mirror Regionals network, the NewsThings research team will now create a range of prototypes that test, challenge and explore what connected media objects could be, and how people interact with them.

This is the second consecutive year Trinity Mirror ideas have been backed by the Google News Initiative. Last year, Perspecs, a news aggregating app designed and built by Darren Sher on the Product team, also received funding.