French Papers Buddy With Google For Kiosk Payments, Product Development

The combined digital kiosk of eight French newspapers is adopting Google’s OnePass to facilitate all its customer payments beside iOS.

ePresse Premium, which launched in June 2010, says it has also struck a wider relationship through which it will help influence Google’s engineering roadmap in publishers’ interests.

Right now, ePresse only lets consumers purchase single copies of individual newspaper editions via iTunes payment through its iOS app, and customers must pay for each paper.

But it will now also use Google (NSDQ: GOOG) OnePass for its forthcoming Android apps and for web payments, allowing customers to buy daily, weekly or longer “passes” that give them access to multiple editions for the same fee.

“Starting December, we will be able to offer combined access to several titles,” ePresse Premium managing director Frederic Filoux tells paidContent. “That kind of access, other kiosks cannot offer.”

Filoux will return revenue to individual kiosk members based on the proportion of downloads their editions receive inside the kiosk. Google will take 10 percent. ePresse had examined several other payment options, including indigenous mechanisms.

ePresse numbers five dailies (Le Figaro, Le Parisien and its national edition, Libération, the sports daily l’Equipe and the business paper Les Echos) and three news weeklies (L’Express, Le Point, Le Nouvel Observateur). Le Monde is the notable omission. Editions include digital replicas with some enhanced interactive presentation. Filoux is not yet disclosing up-take but declares himself pleased by progress.

Several French newspapers, over the last couple of years, have begun introducing digital fee requirements, including tiered bundles across print, web and apps/tablets. But, despite distributing member content, the ePresse offering is distinct. “We don’t have any reason to compete against them,” Filoux says. “The main interest of ePresse is to offer a combined offer.”

Filoux says ePresse publishers will benefit from an expanded relationship with Google: “This is the first time Google has had publishers directly involved in cooperating to develop new services.

“Google is a 120 percent engineering company. We will have some input in making these applications for the benefit of the press. We have selected three, four or five projects that Google has in store – those projects are in various stages of development.

“Starting next week, we might have regular meetings, video conference calls with their developer and engineering teams in London, the U.S. or elsewhere. We will work with those people in orde to steer the development of these applications. That’s a really nice deal.

“The goal is to develop a set of tools that will increase the audience of the websites, the rate of engagement, and we might find a way to share the value in this way.”

Google’s approach with OnePass has been markedly more about ingratiating itself with publishers than Apple’s, which has sometimes appeared aloof. OnePass is available France, Germany, Spain, the UK, and the US and Canada and has been undergoing pilots since being debuted in February 2011.