The Associated Press, along with more than 100 member newspapers, launched the Mobile News Network today. The service was geared to run on the iPhone but will also work on other mobile phones. Mobile News Network will deliver local news based on the user’s ZIP code from local participating news organizations. National and international news will come from the Associated Press.
The application will be paid for with advertising dollars. 107 newspapers are currently participating. Revenue raised from advertising will be shared among the news organizations.
Google and Yahoo have news services for mobile devices, but AP’s Mobile News Network offers easier access to local news stories.
Apple has no formal role with the service but the company did offer advice on how best to build the service for the iPhone.
The two largest newspaper companies in the United States, Gannett and Tribune, haven’t joined the Mobile News Network yet but are evaluating whether or not to join in the future.
If the service is to become truly national, it is my opinion that Gannett and Tribune will have to join. The service differentiates itself from other mobile news services by providing local news. Gannett and Tribune own quite a few local papers and if Mobile News Network is to become something different it will need these two publishing giants to join the network. Otherwise, the selling point of the service will remain local to the 107 papers that have joined.