Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tribune Co. bailing on AP

The Tribune Company, parent of the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times,, is looking at not renewing its AP contract in 2010.

The Associated Press’ proposed new package of services in 2010 is unpopular with many papers, including controversial new rate structure next year.
Member papers now pay AP for a general news package tailored to their size and location. The new plan will have papers getting all available breaking news dispatches from around the world and other states with premium non-breaking content available at an added cost.

The gist of the complaint is that, even as many newspapers want more local news, the AP is forcing more international news on them.

Editor and Publisher has more:
Under current AP policy, each newspaper buys a package of general news created by AP based on that paper's location and circulation. The package usually includes breaking news, sports, business, and other national, international, and regional news relevant to the client's market, including its state AP wire.

Under the new structure, AP member newspapers will receive all breaking news worldwide (including items from other state wires), as well as breaking sports, business, and entertainment stories. In addition, a package of premium content — made up of five types of non-breaking stories including sports, entertainment, business, lifestyle and analysis — will be available at an additional cost.

The base rate is lower, but the material isn’t targeted by location.

So far, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune is the largest paper to officially opt out. Spokesman-Review of Spokane, Wash., is trying to get out at the end of this year, claiming AP’s two-year advance notice doesn’t apply as the new service package is that much different than the old one.

So far, the AP has been indifferent to member newspapers’ complaints, but I don’t see how it can ignore the Trib Co.

But, per E&P, the Trib’s empire also includes: The Sun Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; The Orlando Sentinel; Red Eye of Chicago; the Hartford Courant; The Baltimore Sun; The Morning Call of Allentown, Pa.; and The Daily Press of Newport News, Va.

I just don’t see how the AP can ignore than many newspapers of BIG circulation.

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