AP cuts TV rates


News will cost less under rate assessment reductions approved for television stations by the Associated Press Board of Directors. Newspaper and radio rates had previously been reduced.

Under the plan approved last week, AP will reduce local TV members’ basic text assessments by 10% in 2010. The amount of rate reduction per station varies depending on the level of services received. At its annual meeting in April, The Associated Press announced assessment reductions for member newspapers, the second year rates were reduced. The AP said member radio rates were adjusted several years ago to include added discounts, day-part service options and barter pricing.

While the rates might be the most important actions as far as broadcasters are concerned, the headline from the AP Board meeting was announcement of plans to create a news registry which will tag and track all AP content online to prevent piracy and assure compliance with contract terms.

“What we are building here is a way for good journalism to survive and thrive,” said Dean Singleton, Chairman of the AP Board of Directors and Vice Chairman and CEO of MediaNews Group. “The AP news registry will allow our industry to protect its content online, and will assure that we can continue to provide original, independent and authoritative journalism at a time when the world needs it more than ever,” he said.

The registry will initially cover all AP text content online, and be extended to AP member content in early 2010. Eventually, it will be expanded to cover photos and video as well. AP said it will fund development and operation of the registry through 2010, until it becomes self-sustaining.

The registry will employ a microformat for news developed by AP and which was endorsed two weeks ago by the Media Standards Trust, a London-based nonprofit research and development organization that has called on news organizations to adopt consistent news formats for online content. The microformat will essentially encapsulate AP and member content in an informational “wrapper” that includes a digital permissions framework that lets publishers specify how their content is to be used online and which also supplies the critical information needed to track and monitor its usage.

The registry also will enable content owners and publishers to more effectively manage and control digital use of their content, by providing detailed metrics on content consumption, payment services and enforcement support. It will support a variety of payment models, including pay walls, the AP said.