Why AP’s ASAP flopped

Posted on October 9, 2007 
Filed Under Journalism

Interesting piece on why AP will be folding its ASAP experiment come Oct 31. [via NewsVideographer]

In a gist:

1.NO MORE MONOPOLY: AP’s whole model was predicated on the idea of being a utility and having monopoly. Selling everything through the members may have worked at one time, but we’re beyond that point. (Doug Fisher)

2.BLOGGED ALONE: AP’s ASAP blog, Far and Wide, didn’t actively reach out to other bloggers, solicit comments from readers or link to material they didn’t produce, all commonplace in the blogosphere. They were blogging, but they really didn’t get the ethos of the blogosphere. There’s a lot of blogs on newspaper sites that are just like that. (Doug Fisher)

3.TRYING TOO HARD: ASAP failed to reach a younger crowd because younger readers and viewers do not go to a single website but instead visit a variety of specialized ones. It also may have used too many trying-too-hard-to-be-edgy bells and whistles. It was doomed to fail because it distributed content through the “big, fat, steel-reinforced, spiked spider-covered wall of newspaper companies.” It was akin to ‘Lawrence Welk trying to dance at a rap concert’ (Scott Anderson)

4.MIS-TARGETTED: It struggled to be ‘hip’. Like “the scene in an ‘urban’ comedy in which a middle-aged white character actor talks like Snoop Dogg – equally embarrassing to young, old, black, and white.” (Gawker)

5. POSITIVES: ASAP allowed its staff to pursue journalism in a variety of forms and required them to be inventive. It showed what’s possible in a multimedia world. There’s a lot of types of stories we did that the AP had never done before, and I think you’ll start to see those types of stories appear with the AP in the future.

AP editors said they plan to apply what they learned, and will continue to incorporate multimedia in a variety of ways. Far and Wide, for example, will be used as a prototype as the AP goes forward with new media ventures (Eric Carvin, an ASAP news editor.)

HISTORY: ASAP was launched as a multimedia wire service by The Associated Press two years ago and aimed at the readers ages 18-34. At its peak, site employed 27 people, producing content for a premium wire service distributed to about 300 clients. The service is now down to 19 employees and about 200 clients. It will close on Oct 31, 2007.


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