For a sense of the dramatic shift at the Associated Press in the digital age, consider this: by 2009, less than 25 percent of Associated Press revenues will come from member newspapers. That was just one of the stats tossed out by William Dean Singleton during his chairman's report at the AP annual meeting in Washington D.C. Monday. (Unfortunately, I couldn't make it this year so working off his published remarks.) This year, only 28 percent will come from member newspapers, he said: "Broadcasters, internet companies and international subscribers now provide the lion's share of AP revenue."
Singleton stressed the board's response to member concerns about pricing: "These changes result from the most ambitious overhaul in pricing and products in the history of the cooperative. These steps should help AP align its content more closely with your market needs. At the same time, the board also approved more flexible licensing arrangements, something many of you have also been asking for." More after the jump.
Pricing reductions: In 2009, after two years of no basic increases, "there will be pricing reductions of up to $21 million, or 10 percent of newspaper members' total AP service fees."
Access simplified: Access to photo archives used to be a la carte, with extra charges for older pictures. As of 2009, PhotoStream subscribers will gain unlimited access to the archives for no additional fees.
: Singleton raised a specter from the early days of the industry's efforts to make money from digital: "All of you will recall that some of us tried this once before, in 1995, with the New Century Network. That effort failed." But Singleton says a swat team that looked at special revenue opps across the co-op "has proved extremely successful and effective ... I and the rest of AP's directors believe we have reached another important decision point a rare second chance where acting quickly and together can produce far better results for our industry than going our separate ways as we did after NCN."
By Staci D. Kramer