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AP to restructure pricing, offer suite of digital services to members; Assessments frozen for 2008


NEW YORK -- To help its members succeed in the changing media marketplace, The Associated Press is proposing to restructure newspaper assessments and to offer members a comprehensive array of digital services that would let them access, share and sell content.

“Restoring control over the news content will be the overarching principle that drives our efforts,” Tom Curley, president and CEO of The Associated Press, told members today at the cooperative’s annual meeting.

The new pricing proposal, which would take effect by 2009, would give AP members access to a core breaking news text service, providing a broader range of locally relevant stories. At the same time, it would offer members the flexibility to add tiers of content for additional and deeper coverage.

The repackaging would permit a newspaper in Texas interested in the oil industry to track developments in the industry anywhere in the world, for example. Under AP’s existing pricing structure, members have to pay extra for news for such specialized news. The new packaging is possible because of changes in AP’s technology infrastructure that allow greater flexibility of distribution.

The Associated Press also is extending its digital database platform to allow members to share content and make it more widely available across platforms to drive new revenue generation. As a first step in the project, AP will launch a beta program this summer with a small group of newspapers to tag member content and index it for search. Ultimately, Curley said, the array of digital services will be extended to all AP members.

In other action, AP also announced that it would freeze member assessments for the second year in a row, although prices would increase for certain premium services. In addition, the cooperative offered to digitize a selection of member photos at no charge and make them available to AP’s commercial photo clients on a revenue share basis.


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