NewsRight, ambitious attempt at licensing newspaper content, quietly folds

Nieman Journalism Lab | NewsRight

Analyst Ken Doctor reports at Nieman Labs that NewsRight, an industry-owned agency that has tried to license content to aggregators, has gone out of business.

NewsRight’s own news release describes the dissolution a bit differently saying that its database, existing contracts and brand name will go to collaborator Moreover and that anti-piracy advocacy will pass to the Newspaper Association of America.

The company’s roots were in the AP News Registry, a business development project of the Associated Press. In January 2012, that became NewsRight with AP still lead investor and 28 other newspaper companies taking a stake. 

As Doctor’s post-mortem and some previous Poynter posts lay out, the venture was complex from both a technological and legal point of view and had trouble securing more than a couple of big contracts. Also, its deals were non-exclusive, allowing most of the newspapers to keep licensing contracts already in place. So the best part of the business opportunity was already taken.

Also over the halting five-year life of the project, technology and the industry have moved on. Especially for mobile devices, companies are trying to develop their own aggregated reports often in tandem with pure-play start ups like Flipboard and Zite.

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