Wednesday, October 7, 2009

AP might charge some customers to get news earlier

HONG KONG — The Associated Press is considering whether to sell news stories to some online customers exclusively for a certain period, perhaps half an hour, the head of the news organization said Tuesday.

The AP licenses its stories and photographs to many of the Internet's main hubs, including Google, Yahoo and Microsoft's MSN, and its work also is used by hundreds of Web sites owned by newspapers and broadcasters. Currently, they all get the material at the same time.

The AP's chief executive, Tom Curley, did not clarify how a product that provided some news earlier would work or specify the target customers for the potential new service.

However, in remarks at the Hong Kong Foreign Correspondents' Club, he said that in general the AP and the news industry hope to capitalize on the intensifying battle between Microsoft Corp. and Google Inc. as those companies vie to expand their online audiences. The AP's contract with Google expires at the end of this year, while Microsoft's ends next year.

Curley echoed the complaints of many news companies that contend sites such as Google have reaped a fortune off their articles, photos and video without fairly compensating news organizations that produce the material.

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