Associated Press changes online fee structure to meet Internet demands

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The growing power of the Internet is clearly reflected in the decision, announced Tuesday, for the Associated Press to begin charging newspapers and broadcasters to post wire stories, photos, and other content on their online editions. The changes go into effect January 1, 2006. An advisory committee meeting will be held in the fall to ease the transition.

As the Internet draws more news consumers from traditional repositories of data, increasing numbers are demanding the stories on the Internet reflect the quick updating and coverage of a large wire network such as the Associated Press.

The rates the AP charges, known within as “assessments”, have risen by about 2.75 percent annually during the 90’s. Since the service is supposed to be not-for-profit and is owned by its customers, price increases are a tough sell.

The formula for the new calculations still has not been set, making it difficult to determine how the changes will affect what the outlets charge for their online news coverage. Currently the AP bases rates on newspaper circulation or broadcast audience with the large ones footing the major part of the bill.

The AP is creating a computer database of news paraphernalia which includes stories, photos, graphics, audio and video. It is all designed to make it easier for news rooms to create usable content.