Associated Press Announces Plans for iPad Application

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The Associated Press today announced plans to create a new business unit known as "AP Gateway" that will focus on mobile platforms, with an application for Apple's iPad tablet device set to serve as the launch product from the division. AP Gateway will also seek to leverage the technology behind its iPad application to assist its local news affiliates with creating packages of their own content.

It appears likely that the application will require a paid subscription as the new organization continues its attempts to monetize mobile distribution of its content, although an AP executive suggested that it may appear as a free application at first.

The group already has drawn up plans to charge for an application designed for the iPad, a 1.5-pound tablet computer that Apple Inc. is scheduled to release at the end of March. The price of the application has yet to be determined, although it might start free, according to Jane Seagrave, a senior vice president who becomes the AP's chief revenue officer Monday.

Much like the AP Mobile news product, the iPad app will show custom packages of headlines, stories, photos and video from the AP and from newspapers and broadcasters that choose to contribute their content and share the revenue. AP members also could use the same system to offer their own iPad apps that show their own content.

Attempts to bring newspaper content to the iPad have hit a few hurdles as the device's launch approaches with internal units of The New York Times reportedly vying for control over the distribution and disagreeing over pricing for the newspaper's content. Newspaper and magazine publishers have also been expressing concern over revenue sharing with Apple and the company's unwillingness to share subscriber information that publishers depend on for marketing and tailoring their content.

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