Tom Curley, CEO of The Associated Press was in Hong Kong recently where he would tell anyone who would listen that the times are a changing and Google had better watch out. During the Xinhua Beijing Media Summit Curley once more made it quite plain that he thinks that all the AP’s woes can be traced right back to the doorstep of the evil money grubbing Google. All that is about to change according to him because the “real content producers” aren’t going to be giving away the farm like they have in the past.
Part of this new policy of “play with us or don’t play at all” will include their recently announced News Registry and most likely the plan to allow some providers to cough up extra money to be able to access AP content before their competitors. No more favorable conditions for the providers as far as Curley is concerned. It’s all about bowing to the wishes of the AP as was caught on an audio tape during the conferences and provided to Zachary M. Seward at Nieman Journalism Lab.
We are only going to work with those who use our principles. We are not going to work with everybody. So if you don’t agree to our protocols, if you don’t agree to give us real-time metrics, we aren’t going to work with you. So when I sat down in the portal negotiations, you know, I said, this time is different. You have got to be able to give us the metrics. This is not about money. We’ll get to the money part of the conversation later. If you want our content, these are the things you have to do. And that’s what I outlined. If you can’t do that, or if you won’t do that, let’s not waste time. And so far, everybody’s doing technical due diligence, including us.
When asked if Microsoft was willing to kowtow to what the AP wants Curley had this to say:
Someone asked Curley if Microsoft was willing to accept the AP’s demands. “They have said very strongly that they would,” Curley responded. A bit earlier, he said of Microsoft, “They know how to have a conversation.” And what about Google? “I’m not talking about Google,” he said. “We haven’t talked. We haven’t talked. We haven’t talked with them in any serious way.”
Along the way Curley also blamed the DMCA for letting companies like Google to get away with shafting the real news content providers. As well with some allusion to some new multimedia technology from Microsoft (which apparently they’ve been one of the only companies it has been shown too) being a game changer there is supposedly some huge looming partnership deal coming between the AP and Microsoft.
If Curley is really deluded to the degree that he thinks The AP can be saved by hitching its future to Microsoft/Bing/Yahoo then I think he’s been drinking too much sake. As for the idea that companies like Google, Microsoft, and other news providers are going to turn back the hands of time to a period where The AP might have been the king of news then they are in for a rude awakening.
For every new demand that The AP decides to throw down on the negotiating table there will be umpteen different companies out there that will willingly provide better alternatives. Just ask Reuters – they’re already doing it.