Commentary on AP-Google deal
Lots of trumpeting last week about AP's new deal with Google in which the search-engine giant gets continued access to AP stories and will host them while paying an undisclosed sum, and, perhaps more important, giving AP lots more data about how its content is accessed and viewed.
But Frederic Filloux, in a Monday note, questions whether AP (and AFP, for which he has consulted) is following the wisest path:
Unable to position itself as a genuine partner to the media sphere, Google tries to fracture it by striking deals left and right. In this divide and conquer respect, the AP agreement is a good one — from a Google standpoint. First, Google buries the hatchet for good with AP, transforming a contentious relationship into a true partnership. Second, this deal is a major departure from the “snippets strategy”, in which, until now, Google News contented itself by crawling thousands of sources and extracting headlines and short abstracts. Under the the new AP-Google agreement, Google pays an undisclosed amount of money to AP and provides precious traffic data — in exchange of full stories. (To be complete, AFP also has its own deal with Google, although a more modest one). ... Thanks to its deal with the two newswire agencies, Google is now in the self-sustaining news business.
For AP and AFP, these licensing deals with the search engine go against developing their own business to consumer website. Frankly, who will go to their home pages when Google News already hosts the newswires stories, with a better access, and… native search engine optimization? Why build a website that will compete against a full licensing deal? It doesn’t make sense.
Filloux also questions whether both agencies can - and should - remain member-owned cooperatives. The piece is aptly titled "The Newswire Quandary."