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2020 Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund opened early

The 2020 round of the Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund is now open to regional and metropolitan publishers, and content service providers.

The Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund 2020 funding round has been opened early to support public interest journalism during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Administered by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), a total of $5 million is available for the 2020 round, with a maximum of $400,000 for any applicant.

ACMA Chair Nerida O’Loughlin said the funding will assist publishers of public interest journalism, particularly in regional areas.

“The Innovation Fund has a strong record of helping publishers improve their sustainability and develop a range of innovative projects,” O’Loughlin said.

“We hope to see a diversity of publishers from all over Australia apply for this grant. It is designed to assist publishers adapt to the challenges in the evolving media landscape.”

The Innovation Fund is part of the three-year Regional and Small Publishers Jobs and Innovation package which began in 2018. 

This 2020 Round is separate to the Public Interest News Gathering (PING) Fund recently announced by the Australian Government in response to recommendations of the ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry.

Who can apply? 

The 2020 round is open to regional and metropolitan publishers and content service providers that are an incorporated company; have an Australian Business Number and are registered for GST; and, if based in a metropolitan area, have an annual turnover of less than $30 million. 

ACMA is seeking proposals that achieve on or more of the following outcomes: 

  • Improve the capacity of publishers and content service providers producing public interest journalism to generate revenue, e.g. advertising or subscription revenue
  • Support business improvement activities that sustain or strengthen the financial position of publishers and content service providers by increasing readership or distribution, and/or reducing operating costs through business efficiencies
  • Encourage innovation and experimentation in digital journalism. 

The ACMA will assess each application against the eligibility criteria. Eligible applications will be assessed against the assessment criteria, working closely with an Independent Advisory Committee appointed by the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts.

Regional and Small Publishers Innovation Fund previous successful applicants 

Previously funded projects include the development of audio news and podcasts, staff training on the use of new digital technology and the transition to new or updated websites and market research.

Previous successful applicants include numerous regional newspapers, regional magazine publications, and digital publishers. 

Previous successful regional magazine applicants:

Previous successful digital publishers: 

How to apply 

Publishers and content service providers interested in applying should visit the government’s GrantConnect website (search GO ID: GO3940), where the grant opportunity is listed. 

This includes all the necessary information to apply online.

Applicants can find more details at acma.gov.au/innovationfund 

Applications for this round of funding close on 22 May 2020. The ACMA expects to announce successful applicants in July 2020.

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