The Associated Press is considering offering online news customers the chance to pay to receive stories earlier for a short period of exclusivity, AP CEO Tom Curley said yesterday. Currently, all outlets which licence AP content get all material at the same time, an Associated Press article clarified.
Curley was speaking at the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents' Club. He did not give details about how such a service would work, but did suggest that the period of exclusivity would be perhaps "20 or 30 minutes" and that it would be possible to reserve products. He did not specify target customers.
The AP chief also said that the AP hopes to capitalise on the intensifying battle between Microsoft and Google in their fight for online audiences. He said that this could provide an opening for content producers to benefit. The AP's licensing deal with Google expires at the end of this year and that with Microsoft at the end of next. Back in June, Curley expressed a hope to obtain better licensing contracts with its large Internet customers as a way to make up for lost income from newspapers and broadcasters, after the association lowered its fees this year.
The AP also believes that it has been suffering considerably from unauthorised use of its content online. Curley said in Hong Kong that the system it has been developing to track online content, the 'news registry' which was first announced in July, would be tested in six weeks by nine newspapers and a sports statistics provider. The news registry will not be used simply to locate content that is being used without permission, but also to provide the AP with data about where and when its content is being read.
Could charging for early access be a significant new revenue stream for the news association? It will certainly be an interesting development to watch, if the AP goes ahead with it. It could represent a slight shift in the nature of AP content: from being a generally ubiquitous resource to having an element of exclusivity.
Source: Associated Press