TV Stations Must Pay for AP Web Content

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Saying that it needs to firm up its financial footing in new media markets as money shifts from traditional ones, AP next year will begin charging TV stations for AP news material repurposed on their Web sites, the AP board said Monday.

Previously, member stations were allowed to repurpose that material for no extra charge. To take some of the sting out of the additional fee, AP also said its yearly increase for its overall service will be smaller next year than the average increase over the past 10 years.

Currently, stations are charged for AP news according to market size, but the company has yet to decide on a pricing structure for Web content.

"Since the dawn of the commercial Internet age, AP has encouraged its members to use AP content in their online operations," AP Board Chairman Burl Osborne said in announcing the policy change. "AP's philosophy was to promote member efforts to develop this new medium, and to give those fledgling online efforts time to grow," he said.

The board has periodically reviewed AP's online policies since 1995 and now has concluded that "growth has materialized for member online operations," Osborne said in a statement.

AP representatives will be calling on stations to explain the change, which kicks in Jan. 1 of next year, and a digital transition committee is also being set up, with its first meeting scheduled for October.

The news coincided with the start of the annual Radio-Television News Director's Association convention in Las Vegas. A call to the RTNDA press room had not been returned at press time.

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