Google Digital News Innovation Fund,
TWO 24 ORE GROUP PROJECTS FUNDED
for a total of € 978,000:
- Il Sole 24 Ore: custom AI driven digital information
- Radio 24: tailored audio content
There are two projects submitted by the 24 ORE Group that will be funded by the Google Digital News Innovation Fund (DNI Fund), the European program created by Google in 2015 to promote innovation in publishing and digital journalism, which announced today the outcome of the fifth round of funding, the first in 2018.
To date, the Google DNI fund has funded 559 projects (out of 5,620 applications) in 29 European countries for a total of € 115.2 million. Of these, in the fifth round, funds worth € 21.2 million were awarded to 98 projects of organizations from 29 European countries out of 820 applications received from startups and traditional players, online publishers, radio & TV broadcasters, information magazines and academic journals.
The 24 ORE Group projects that will be realized with the financial support of Google’s DNI Fund, for a total of € 978,000, involve Il Sole 24 Ore and Radio 24. The projects have been developed with the support of Area24, the Content Innovation Lab of the 24 ORE Group based in New York, Rome and Milan, which works side by side with the Group's Editorial Department: a hotbed of ideas, development and sharing, whose aim is to develop new applications, services and prototypes to promote innovation and AI in editorial and business processes.
"Royalty", the project developed by Il Sole 24 Ore, built on a powerful machine learning engine in the management of editorial content and analysis of readers' behaviour within Sole’s digital products, aims to develop a premium editorial product designed specifically for the digital reader, capable of meeting, with a highly personalized offer, the needs and choices of each individual user. The service increases customer satisfaction, optimizes resources and offers greater monetization opportunities. The machine learning engine will be trained directly at the editorial office, and for the very first time, journalists will get the chance to work assisted by AI.
Thanks to the funding, Il Sole 24 Ore, which has long been the daily newspaper boasting more paid content, can expand its paid content even more.
The Royalty project, which was awarded € 739,000 by Google’s DNI FUND, will run for 16 months starting from autumn 2018 and will be developed with support from Teorema Engineering.
The project developed for Radio 24, called "AI Anchor", aims to automatically generate high-quality audio content from structured data, such as stock market vertical focuses, company financial reports, macroeconomic data, which listeners will be able to use through personalized podcasts purchasable individually or offered by sponsors. The project is hinged on the development of tools able to convert a huge amount of data and text content into audio content through AI and cutting-edge text-to-speech solutions. Additionally, the project aims to provide new and more interesting virtual content for the latest generation of voice assistants.
The Radio 24 project, which received € 239,000 from the Google DNI FUND, will run for 12 months starting from autumn 2018 and will involve two major partners: the University of Pisa and DataNinja.
"We are extremely proud of the fact that Google has recognized the highly innovative value of our two projects. Thanks to this funding, Il Sole 24 Ore and Radio 24’s editorial staffs will be able to put themselves at the forefront in Italy and see their efforts rewarded: we will be able to take quality journalism into the future, which is the founding principle of how we provide information, through platforms and tools that the digital system of today and especially tomorrow requires. My warm thanks go to the journalists of the Group who have accepted the challenge, and to the Deputy Director of digital and multimedia development Roberto Bernabò, who has made great strides in terms of digital innovation since he joined us", said Guido Gentili, Editor-in-Chief of Il Sole 24 Ore and Director of Radio 24.
“Thanks to the Google Fund, we will bring AI to the editorial staff to serve both journalists and our readers. This is a truly exciting challenge for the journalists of our Newspaper, who will play a prominent role in machine learning training, and because we will be the very first to offer Italian readers and subscribers such groundbreaking products for the technology used and the editorial value we represent. The technology and know-how we will benefit from following the realization of the projects funded by Google will pave the way for creating new personalized products to meet user information needs based also on the device used - focusing first of all on voice, then on the numerous opportunities offered by the Internet of things - with reduced product development costs”, explained Roberto Bernabò, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Il Sole 24 Ore in charge of digital and multimedia development.
"The awarding from the Google DNI Fund marks a success in our path of innovation and renewal of the editorial offering that has seen the Company and the Editorial Management work side by side. These investments will enable us to accelerate and reap more benefits from the opportunities brought by AI. We took the first steps on this front by establishing the Area24 Lab in November 2017. Then we started working with IBM Watson AI systems on our professional databases. And now, we embark on 2 projects that cast us directly into the future of publishing. I wish to thank Google for recognizing the ability of our projects to generate new revenue: we will continue to invest on this path with the aim of offering new, improved services and seeking new customers. My special thanks go to Pierfrancesco Caria, head of the Business & Media Development Department, which set up Area24, and to Pierpaolo Bozzano, head of the Lab”, said Massimo Pietro Colombo, General Sales Manager of the 24 ORE Group.