AP Considers Selling News Ala Carte

    May 8, 2007

From a story about AP by AP:

As newspapers focus increasingly on locally relevant news, Curley said the AP is proposing changes that would allow members to subscribe to a core package of breaking news and then add other news packages. Currently, it offers broader packages of news defined mainly by the volume of news delivered — small, medium or large.

So a near monopoly is breaking up how it sells content to other news agencies? I think that more than anything else shows the effect search and the internet are having on news agencies.

The media is addicted to search, and Google is keeping them addicted by giving them a bit more traffic. The NYT is already republishing old stories to spam Google. Eventually I wouldn’t be surprised to see the AP sell chunks of stories that local papers can chose to wrap their own content around, to get past duplicate content filters.

Microsoft just launched AdWriter (a free tool to write ad copy), and Thomson Financial already admits to using robots to automatically write some of their stories:

Thomson Financial has been using automatic computer programs to generate news stories for almost six months. The machines can spit out wire-ready copy based on financial reports a mere 0.3 seconds after receiving the data.

This movement toward efficiency and recycling is the exact opposite of what the papers need to do if they want to stay relevant, but the machines are already in motion, doing everything from writing the news to trading stocks:

Quants seek to strip human emotions such as fear and greed out of investing. Today, their brand of computer-guided trading has reached levels undreamed of a decade ago. A third of all U.S. stock trades in 2006 were driven by automatic programs, or algorithms, according to Boston-based consulting firm Aite Group LLC. By 2010, that figure will reach 50 percent, according to Aite.

As established trusted authorities and rich power sources move toward automation and efficiency who could beat them? Probably Google, but then whats left to trust but robots?