Saturday, July 28, 2007

AP ending 'asap'

No real surprise here. AP says it's ending its "asap" service in October, according to Editor & Publisher.. (AP's already taken down it's main asap page, but for now the news release from the original launch is up. And here's AP's take on the shutdown story.) Asap, launched in September 2005, was AP's initially lame, but now much-improved effort to help- members reach the 18- to 34-year-old age group on the Web.

To bottom line it from AP Executive Editor Kathleen Carroll: critical acclaim doesn't translate to cold, hard cash.

E&P and some others seem surprised at this. Why? AP continued to distribute "asap" through its members' Web sites. But the 18-to-34 set isn't going to "newspaper.com" to start or end the day -- or much in the middle, for that matter. Those readers tend to go to more socially oriented sites that let them share stories, photos, experiences, etc. Most newspaper sites are still far from that.

And syndicated content like AP starts a strike behind in an online ecosystem that increasingly covets individualization and customization. (Translation: Once it's entered the ecosystem from one site, why are multiple sites needed. This is still the Achilles' heel of too many news organizations tied to their old production models -- their approach is to create and duplicate, instead of create and customize. We continue to see it on a lot of newspaper-run hyperlocal news sites, too.)

"Asap" had about 200 subscribers, down from about 300 at the start. AP says, without specifying, that elements will be integrated into its regular news report. Good for it. If AP can infuse that culture throughout its organization, it will be a big step.

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