In a sense, yes, because the not-for-profit is owned by 1,500 U.S. daily papers. But Forbes’ Louis Hau asks: What happens when membership fees from newspapers becomes a minor part of the AP’s revenue? Apparently that’s already the case. Fees from newspapers account for 30% of the AP’s revenue, and according to VP Jim Kennedy, “there’s no longer a direct link between what the members pay and the news gathering we do.”
The AP’s other sources of revenue in 2007 were broadcast TV (37%), international and photography (18%), and, of great interest/concern to its newspaper clients, online (15%).
The AP has been pouring resources into financial news and entertainment coverage, in part to feed demand from its growing client base: Yahoo, AOL, MSNBC, and CNN.com. The top-four news and information sites built their brands and traffic on AP stories, and in turn have helped erode the readership of dailies. As the WSJ pointed out today, newspaper Web sites are growing but their share of time spent on the Web has decreased over the last three years.
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