CNN challenges Associated Press with cheaper wire service

December 8, 2008

CNN is catering to financially strained media outlets seeking an alternative to the premium services of The Associated Press. The move broadens CNN’s business pursuits from TV outlets to newspapers.

For nearly a month, a trial version of CNN’s wire service has been on display. Last week, editors from about 30 newspapers visited Atlanta to hear CNN’s plans to broaden the service to provide coverage of major national and international events at a lower cost than the AP.

“The reality is we don’t have a lot of relationships with newspapers,” Jim Walton, president of CNN Worldwide, told “The New York Times.” “We have relationships with TV stations around the world.”

With its CNN Wire, CNN is going to compete with the largest newsgathering operation in the world. It must convince editors that it can offer content that is well outside its broadcast expertise, which may not be a tough task given the dire financial circumstances newspapers face.

“We want to own more of our own content and reporting. We felt we had to look at our business as more than television,” Walton said.

The AP is more than 150 years old and is one of the world’s largest newsgathering operations, with more than 3000 journalists in more than 100 countries.

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