No longer an AAP customer, upcoming rival News freezes market

Government support is being considered as upcoming competition from News Corp has made business "a lot tougher" for the new Australian Associated Press.

The agency is also appealing for crowdfunding support.

Federal communications minister Paul Fletcher has also acknowledged the role AAP plays as the risk of the new business failing is discussed by parliamentarians.

Although News is currently prevented from offering its expanded internal news service, NCA NewsWire until a non-compete clause expires next year, chief executive Emma Cowdroy says some clients are avoiding long-term commitments to AAP because of the rival new entrant's launch. The Guardian reports that some have signed for shorter periods while they test the service and await NCA NewsWire's arrival.,

"It's probably fair to say that things have been a lot tougher than we thought," she told the newspaper.

Since News and Nine Entertainment sold the 85-year-old newswire, the new not-for-profit company is finding itself under financial pressure. The Guardian says it would not be viable if customers such as Seven West Media and Australian Community Media were to switch to NCA NewsWire. Its report raises the issue of media diversity, pointing out that "the reach of Rupert Murdoch's influence would be far wider than the 70 per cent of newspaper circulation he already controls in Australia" if that were to happen.

The Guardian, New Daily, the ABC and SBS all currently use the service.

Cowdroy said it was "always the intention" to use crowdsourcing to supplement the new AAP's philanthropic support.

In the ACM-owned Canberra Times, Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie writes of AAP's importance, adding that there was "only really space for one of these monopolies in the market. If AAP falls, the likely alternative is already waiting in the wings."

South Australian senator Rex Patrick described AAP as "part of the public-interest journalism fraternity" and said government support was critical.

Picture: AAP chief executive Emma Cowdroy (photo AAP)

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