Seeking to shore up revenues and highlight the value of its original reporting, the Associated Press is considering charging its customers more for exclusive online content, according to London's Guardian newspaper, which cited remarks by AP chief executive Tom Curley at a journalism conference in Hong Kong.
The exclusive content offerings could be reserved for customers who paid the premium fees, or made available on a tiered schedule, with members who pay the premium fees gaining access for a period of time before the content then becomes widely available.
Curley was quoted as saying: "Those who get access to that content and the rich multimedia or metadata that comes with it might get an exclusive for, oh, 20 or 30 minutes."
This would allow the AP to maximize the content's exposure, while still giving an advantage to those members who pay the extra fee, on the theory that even a brief period of exclusivity is valuable for breaking news.
Curley positioned the potential exclusive content system as a way for news organizations to rebuild some of the value in breaking news, which has allegedly been diminished by online news aggregators like Google and Yahoo, which collect their news and (allegedly) profit from traffic and readership at their expense.
In the past, the news aggregators have responded to these criticisms by saying their services provide a mechanism for online news publishers to attract readers.
Over the last year, the AP has moved to create new content distribution and monetization options for itself and its members. These include a mobile network offering news tailored for distribution to smartphones and other handheld devices, and an online platform for editing and sharing video content.