The Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram is among 10 news outlets chosen by search engine giant Google to participate in a six-month “Digital Subscriptions Lab” aimed at improving their revenue strategies.

The Google News Initiative, in partnership with the Michigan-based Local Media Association and Washington, D.C.-based business strategy firm FTI Consulting, invited 21 print and digital news organizations to apply for the program and then chose 10 participants based on their applications, according to a news release. Other media operations chosen for the lab include The Baltimore Sun, The Houston Chronicle and The Toronto Star.

“We were impressed by the letters from their CEOs and the work going on at these companies. In the end, the judges chose 10 that came with a willingness to experiment and a commitment from the highest levels in their company,” Local Media Association President Nancy Lane said in the release. “We’re excited to work with this cohort on strategies that can change the trajectory of the newspaper industry.”

The chosen group includes small, medium and large publishers. Judges looked for newspapers that were growing their digital subscription business and were willing to experiment with new methods of boosting revenue even further, the release said.

Insights gained through the Digital Subscriptions Lab will be shared with the news industry at large, it said.

As part of the program, FTI will do an on-site evaluation of each participant that includes its people, processes, technology, marketing and content. FTI will benchmark current performance, identify short-term optimization opportunities and recommend longer-term strategies.

The organizations also will receive support from Google teams that have expertise in data, strategy, technology, products and marketing, the release said.

“In the last year, we saw our circulation revenue eclipse ad revenue and digital subscriptions outpace single copy sales,” Press Herald CEO Lisa DeSisto said in the release. “We love our print subscribers and will continue to deliver an incredible product to them while at the same time get smarter, faster and more strategic in attaining and retaining digital subscribers. We are eager to learn and implement the best practices we’ll gain in the Lab.”

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