Saturday, 22 December 2007

AP and the International Herald Tribune

I have already blogged on how much of the IHT's, and especially 's, copy comes from the Associated Press.

I've also blogged about bloggers riffing off MSM and MSM riffing off other MSM and I've blogged on the Reuters/IHT deal.

Which is why a small piece in last Tuesday's International Herald Tribune caught my eye.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS said it would sell its French language service to a group led by former Agence France-Presse executive with the financial backing of the French investment group Bollore. The AP said late Friday that it wanted to focus its business in France on producing text in English, as well as on pictures and television.

A few thoughts:

Firstly, there are investors out there who still think that in the relatively crowded wire market there is still room for another wire provider. Content is king.

Secondly, AP content is king at the IHT, because they use so much of it. Will they use less of it and more of Reuters wire copy, with the new deal, not just in the business section as announced, but elsewhere in the book? My guess is yes.

And finally, what do AP make of the Reuters deal?

Here's the kicker.

If you Google any subject, or Google International Herald Tribune, you are often going to come upon AP content.

In fact most of the IHT content blogged upon on any given day in the blogosphere is in fact not IHT generated content, but AP content.

But the brand that is quoted for the information as de facto being reliable is not AP, but the IHT.

So why don't AP do a deal, like Reuters have done with the IHT on business news, on ALL their content with ALL their clients - a share of ad revenue wherever their content ends up on the web, be it a MSM client site or someone who has linked to it (that technology is surely coming).

The AP brand is a business to business brand - at the moment - but strategically maybe they need to revisit that, and start promoting the AP brand as a consumer brand, because at the moment it is their clients who get the credibility kudos on their content, not AP itself.

Next big thing for 2008 in media? A major shake up of the business models of news wire providers.

What will all this mean for outlets like the IHT who are basically aggregating and selectors of information from people like Reutuers and AP, with a little of their own journalism thrown in plus the NYT people. They might have to surrender the credibility high ground brand ownership to the likes of AP, and concentrate more not on their own credibility but the editorial choices they make.

Watch this space...

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