Google Ghana is committed to assisting the Ghanaian media to make their online presence more relevant and generate additional revenue, Estelle Akofio-Sowah, Country Manager of Google has said.
“The media and journalists in particular are the main producers of content online and that is where our (Google) engagement is with the media, Mrs Akofio-Sowah said in a chat with executive members of the Network of Communication Reporters, Ghana, (NCR Ghana) in Accra.
She said the online department or unit within media houses in Ghana was still new that needed all the support from its management because of the potential it had to propel high the organisation’s image and ways of raising extra funds.
“For us at Google”, Mrs Akofio-Sowah said, “our Sub Saharan goal is to build an internet ecosystem and make it relevant and useful for people”. “We want to give Africans the reason to come on the internet everyday and make it part of their life,” she added.
Google has supported a number of local media houses such as Citi FM, YFM and Multimedia Group (Joy FM) helping them to build their internet infrastructure. This kind support, Mrs Akofio-Sowah noted would be extended to many more media institutions in the coming months and years but that would be based on a particular institution’s arrangement with Google Ghana.
To enable Google achieve its global mission of making information universally accessible, Mrs Akofio-Sowah said Google focuses on increasing access to the Internet and making it more relevant to users across the world, which also make the media an important partner.
Google Ghana, according to her, aims to regularly meet with media houses management, especially the online department in order to understand their priorities and needs and how they could use the vast internet-based Google applications to enhance their objectives and make their work more relevant and beneficial to their stakeholders.
“We want to encourage the media to create more content online and how they can make money through their products,” Mrs Akofio-Sowah repeated.
She said through Google Ad Sense product, a media house could become an Ad Sense Partner and begin to make some money when an advertisement appeared on their websites. “Once you become an Ad Sense Partner, you can share revenues with Google by allowing it (Google) to advertise on your websites. The more people click to open the ads on the website, the more money you make”, she explained.
In order to help reduce the cost internet and barriers to access, Mrs Akofio-Sowah said Google had invested a lot in infrastructure in many countries across the globe. “We have invested in the fibre optic cables, satellite and transmission…”
In addition, she said in Ghana, “We (Google Ghana) have put in Google Cash Service and every time someone uploads video to YouTube he gets cash locally. It also helps operators to save money locally.”
In the education sector, the Country Director of the largest search engine in the world, said Google had introduced the Google Apps Supporting Programme (ABSP), which is an enterprise version of its gmail to support tertiary institutions to improve on their internet infrastructure in order to benefit fully from Google apps.
“For the universities we give them grants to help them to build up their internet infrastructure. The University of Ghana and Central University have so far received their grants from Google Ghana.”
“We have worked with schools and institutions to bring cost of internet down…Google Apps Education edition offers all the tools necessary for schools to control IT costs, while improving productivity,” she noted.
Google Ghana has targeted 11 universities so far for the support which would be delivered depending on the infrastructure need of particular university.
Mrs Akofio-Sowah said under Google’s “Africa, Get Your Business Online” project, about 9,000 businesses in Ghana had so far been engaged and all today were making good use of the internet as their businesses can now be felt online. “About 99 per cent of them are Ghanaian businesses,” she said.
NCR Ghana is a registered body and an affiliate of the Ghana Journalists Association, consists of seasoned journalists drawn from all the major media houses in Ghana (both print and electronic).
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