Sunday, 19 October 2008

The future of AP

Who thinks they could do without AP?

Certainly the IHT has subscriptions to Bloomberg (which it uses occassionaly since the demise of Business Asia with Bloomberg and the new deal with Reuters, for which Reuters actually pays to be co-branded in the IHT in the Business with Reuters section).

Reuters is also used heavily for briefs and

One has the feeling that the IHT could live without AP, in these days of big cost cuts resulting from horrible 2009 advertising budgets, it wouldn't surprise me if even the NYTMG cut them. If they could, if Tribune Company has, many others will follow.

Shocker: Tribune Co. Gives Notice To Drop AP

By Joe StruppPublished: October 16, 2008 12:40 PM ET

Tribune Company has given a two-year notice to the Associated Press that its daily newspapers plan to drop the news service, becoming the first major newspaper chain to do so since the recent controversy over new rates began.

Tribune, which owns nine daily papers including the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, joins a growing list of newspapers that have sought to end AP contracts, or given notice of that, following plans to introduce a new controversial rate structure in 2009. The notice was given earlier this week.

AP Spokesman Paul Colford confirmed the cancellation notice, but said he had no more specifics. He issued the following statement about it:"We understand that in this climate a lot of newspapers are re-examining their strategies. The Associated Press will continue to work with all members of the cooperative to ensure that we are providing the most efficient, valued and essential news service for them."

The notice, of course, does not mean Tribune is cutting AP immediately. The news cooperative requires the two-year notice as part of its current contracts. Negotiations may lead to the termination not moving forward.

Tribune Spokesman Gary Weitman did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday as he is traveling. The notice comes less than a year after Sam Zell, an AP board member, took control of Tribune.Tribune daily papers besids the flagship in Chicago affected include The Sun Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; The Orlando Sentinel; Red Eye of Chicago; the Hartford Courant; The Baltimore Sun; The Morning Call of Allentown, Pa.; and The Daily Press of Newport News, Va.

"I think many editors are concerned about the new financial rate model that AP has rolled out," Earl Maucker, editor of the Sun Sentinel, said about the notice. "It is a natural approach for us to take a hard look at that. Are there other alternatives out there that would provide the depth and breadth of coverage we need?"

In recent months, other non-Tribune papers have also given the required two-year's notice to drop AP. Those include: The Star Tribune of Minneapolis, The Bakersfield Californian, The Post Register of Idaho Falls, and The Yakima Herald-Republic and Wenatchee World, both of Washington.The Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Wash., is trying to cut ties without the required two-year notice, planning to discontinue AP content at the end of 2008. At least one newspaper, The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J., tested the approach by publishing an entire newspaper for one day last month without AP content. So far, that paper has not given notice to cut the service.Maucker said publishing without AP would be difficult, but not impossible: "We would have to take a look at what other options might be available."

The recent decisions to drop AP service follow the planned AP rate structure change, which was announced in 2007 and takes effect in 2009. The rate change initially prompted complaints from numerous newspapers, including two groups of editors who wrote angry letters to AP to complain in late 2007 and early 2008.

Under current AP policy, each newspaper buys a package of general news created by AP based on that paper's location and circulation. The package usually includes breaking news, sports, business, and other national, international, and regional news relevant to the client's market, including its state AP wire.

Under the new structure, AP member newspapers will receive all breaking news worldwide (including items from other state wires), as well as breaking sports, business, and entertainment stories. In addition, a package of premium content — made up of five types of non-breaking stories including sports, entertainment, business, lifestyle and analysis — will be available at an additional cost.When the new structure was announced in 2007, AP promised a combined savings of $5.6 million across newspaper member budgets, which increased to $14 million —and, finally, $21 million just days before the April annual AP meeting.((AP officials said member newspapers would begin to find out in July what their exact fees would be for 2009, which prompted some of the recent decisions and could result in other newspapers cutting their service before the end of the year.


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