Friday, October 21, 2005

UPI Goes Native: When You Can't Get to the Ads, Let the Ads Come to You

I don't pick up news from United Press International every day, so it was interesting to click on a headline in my daily rounds and discover that UPI is now using text ads to support its feeds, along with providing RSS feeds of their content. While having ads on a wire site is not groundbreaking - Reuters has been pushing a subset of their wire content online with ad-supported pages - the UPI's use of text ads acknowledges that these days a smaller wire service has to compete more on the same terms as proliferating weblogs that use text ads to support their operations. So, why not use the same revenue streams that this level of competition does since it's getting harder for small wires to get hooked up with ads in mainstream outlets? It's an interesting solution to the ongoing question of where wire services fit in with today's media mix.

UPI provides news gathering and distribution solutions on a number of levels now, leveraging their infrastructure and staff in a number of ways that also tend to resemble the multi-faceted revenue streams of many of today's online operations. UPI is on to something with this model as a way to get into the mainstream of today's user-oriented aggregation with traditional journalism on its back end. It will be interesting to see where they take their editorial stream as this model evolves: will UPI be a career stepping stone for webloggers wanting to move on to mainstream journalism without giving up audiences in established online channels such as RSS feeds? Or will the flow begin to go the other way, with services such as UPI used as a starting point in the careers of journalists seeking independent careers?
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