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CNN Drops AP Service to Focus on Own Newsgathering

Time Warner Inc.’s CNN, the 24-hour cable news network, stopped using the Associated Press service and materials to focus on its internal newsgathering efforts.

Starting today, CNN’s newsgathering will be the primary source of content across all platforms and services, CNN Worldwide President Jim Walton said today in an internal memo to staff. The memo was confirmed by CNN spokesman Nigel Pritchard.

“We are taking an important next step in the content- ownership process we began in 2007 to more fully leverage CNN’s global newsgathering investments,” Walton wrote.

The move lets CNN invest more into its own operation and helps it differentiate from competition, Walton said. CNN started the efforts to own all of its content in 2007, and created a wire service offering articles and videos.

The cable channel also struck a deal with Thomson Reuters Corp.’s wire service to supplement breaking news coverage, according to the memo. CNN is returning to Reuters after dropping the service in August 2007, following a price increase.

AP, a New York-based nonprofit cooperative that supplies articles, photos and videos from around the world to paying members, confirmed it was unable to reach a deal with CNN.

“It is unfortunate that CNN’s viewers will no longer have access to the breaking news and worldwide reporting resources of the Associated Press, the gold standard in journalism,” the AP said in an e-mailed statement.

CNN’s licensing agreement with the AP was set to expire June 30, and negotiations had been going on for some time, Pritchard said.

Falling Ratings

CNN has been coping with declining ratings in prime time following the 2008 U.S. presidential election and amid competition with News Corp.’s Fox News Channel. CNN has also discussed partnerships with other news outlets, Time Warner Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bewkes said on the company’s May 5 earnings conference call. New York-based Time Warner doesn’t break out CNN’s financial performance.

As part of the new model, CNN is expanding the “CNN Wires” team and creating positions on desks and in bureaus to get information on TV more quickly, Walton said. It’s also starting “CNN Share,” which will create an alert system for breaking news and compile editorial content and share it across the website, mobile and TV.

Time Warner fell 42 cents to $32.54 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares have gained 12 percent this year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Rabil in New York at srabil@bloomberg.net

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