Curley: ‘The franchise is the content’

Associated Press President and CEO Tom Curley welcomed the 2004 Online News Association conference attendees with a keynote address that stressed the importance of news aggregators and community interaction. He called the shift “Web 2.0,” describing the next phase as a network where users and machines are “always on.”

The value of news content will outweigh the broadcast, print and even online “containers,” that the industry produced during the first phase of the new media revolution.

“That’s a big shift for old media to come to grips with,” he said. “Killer (applications), such as search, RSS and video-capture software such as TiVo — to name just a few — have begun to unlock the content from any vessel we try to put it in.”

“The franchise is not the newspaper; it’s not the broadcast; it’s not even the Web site,” Curley said. “The franchise is the content itself.”

The media’s business franchise will be based on content because users can now control when and how their news is delivered. Competition for “eyeballs” is fierce, and the industry has yet to understand all its implications — “…like how to free our content from those expensive containers we’ve created — the newspaper, the broadcast and the Web site — and tagging our news for delivery in discrete places, on demand. And keeping control of our intellectual property.”