The Associated Press said Wednesday that it has entered into a partnership with WhoSay Inc., a company that helps celebrities manage interactions with fans through social networks and traditional media outlets.
The AP will give celebrities who are members of WhoSay the option to provide exclusive, personal photos and videos to the AP for licensing to major media companies worldwide. ...At the least, it sounds like it's cheapening itself. Basically, WhoSay looks like an elitist version of Twitter. Which makes it look very much like AP is doing celebrity butt-kissing. Great. AP's entertainment feed will look like TMZ soon.
The company puts celebrities in greater control of —and offers the opportunity to profit from— their photographic lives. It also allows them to spread their social media posts easily across sites like Twitter and Facebook. As an example, (Sofia ) Vergara posted a picture of a family lunch in Miami last month. The photo has a copyright symbol, indicating she owns it and can make money from it if, say, a magazine wants to publish it.
And, shock me that Dean Singleton, as ongoing chairman of the board (who should have been canned when MediaNews filed Chapter 11) would think this is a wonderful idea. Hell, look at AP's whole board of directors.
Singleton/MediaNews? Chapter 11. Mary Junck/Lee Enterprises? Chapter 11. Donna J. Barrett/CNHI? Should be in Chapter 11, but, being owned by the Alabama state pension system, probably can't be. Craig A. Dubow/Gannett? Should be. Still doing mandatory furloughs, isn't it? Michael Golden/New York Times? The company that has a fake paywall and lies about it. Paul C. Tash/St. Petersburg Times? Lives on its Poynter reputation. Katharine Weymouth/Washington Post? Would be in Chapter 11 if not for Kaplan. Gary Pruitt/McClatchy? Wouldn't surprise me if it winds up there.
As Michael Hirschorn at The Atlantic notes, it's precisely strategies like this that have made the general public undervalue daily newspapers for years if not decades. Add in the AP board originally selling its content to online aggregators for pennies, and the circle is complete.
AP? As an organization? Ideally, it would up its rates to Google, et al. But, with the degree that both Reuters and Agence-France Presse have expanded in the US in the past decade, that's probably not that realistic.
And, member papers should play Reuters off AP to negotiate prices down, if needed. Bigger chains should have kept more of their DC bureaus open and tried to bargain down AP at the same time.