The AP’s Digital News Licensing Agency Will Launch This Summer

The Associated Press is moving ahead with a plan to establish an independent digital news licensing agency to help news organizations make additional money off their digital content. The AP initially announced its intention to create the new company in October and now says the new entity — called the News Licensing Group — will launch this summer. It’s also trying to raise funding from media firms to finance the company.

The AP itself is contributing the News Registry it set up last year to track how AP and AP member content is being distributed online to the News Licensing Group in exchange for a stake in the company.

During a conversation, AP CEO Tom Curley outlined three ways that the new licensing agency would work: He said that it would track digital content produced by the AP as well as more than a thousand publications to ensure that it was being licensed properly

Curley also said it would bring together content from various media firms in order to create “new products not yet in the market.” For instance, a health site might want to add content related to a specific topic and would now be able to acquire relevant content from multiple sources in one place. And, finally, Curley said the agency would license content to third parties already using the content but that in the past have not been able to easily license it (or simply have not).

Asked how big of a business the News Licensing Group would be, Curley noted that some other licensing agencies, such as the music-related American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, as well as Broadcast Music Inc., were “billion dollar businesses,” while the Copyright Clearance Center, which is primarily involved in licensing print content, brings in more than $200 million a year.