Why the AP is doomed

Two from Jeffrey McManus.


The AP’s power used to flow from their role as a syndicator — they would hook up any member newsroom with a communications cable (the literal “news wire”) through which stories and other content would flow. Now that newsrooms (and every single other person on the planet) has a better wire called the internet, there may be no good reason for the AP to exist in its role as a syndicator, except for inertia. To put it in economic terms, it is a classic example of an inefficient marketplace.


the AP’s chairman decried the practice of aggregators linking to and excerpting AP content and got into some rather nasty name-calling (backed up by a Wall Street Journal executive who referred to “certain web sites” (cough Google) as “parasites”). Danny Sullivan had an excellent response in which he suggested that if the news services didn’t want Google’s attention, they’ve always had a simple way to reject it (through a file that bans search engines called robots.txt). But they won’t do this, of course, which is the reason why they’re now resorting to public whining and name-calling — it’s all they’ve got left. Traditional news businesses are stuck in a bear trap called the internet, and they can’t decide whether to saw their own legs off or slowly bleed to death.

See ya, AP.

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