asap: Latest MSM Video Site to Kick Bucket

The Associated Press will shut down asap, its premium podcast and video service aimed at the 18-to-34 age group, according to an AP business story.

The service had not been financially successful, said Kathleen Carroll, AP executive editor. asap, which launched in September 2005, had 24 staff members and 200 newspapers who paid to use its content.

“We’re in the business of providing news coverage in a fiscally responsible way,” she said. “If we launch a product that is intended to generate revenues, they need to generate sufficient revenue for us to continue to produce them.”

Variety had helpfully started a graveyard for us in an article about the failure of “separately branded broadband networks.”

MTV had Overdrive, Comedy Central had Motherload, CBS had Innertube, and CNN had Pipeline, to name a few… Flash forward to 2007: Just as online video is hitting the mainstream, Overdrive, Motherload, Innertube and Pipeline are all gone or on their way out.

Last week the news came out that HBO and AOL’s This Just In online comedy site was on its way to the graveyard as well. “With a studio mentality, management by consensus and a bonus-driven culture, they are waddling in a world that moves at light speed,” Om wrote on NewTeeVee.

Taken altogether, the closures don’t mean online video is going offline; just that it’s more successful in non-exclusive arrangements. Oh, and the terrible experience of constant pauses for buffering, obnoxious pre-rolls, and barely navigable interfaces didn’t help. Personally I wish Comedy Central’s Motherload player was just a little more dead; it’s enough to drive me back to YouTube to seek out my Jon Stewart fix.

So what’s next? Mass distribution, for those who are starting to ‘get it.’ “The formation of the CBS Audience Network has allowed us to turn Innertube into Outertube,” CBS Interactive president Quincy Smith told Variety. “You need to go to where the audience is.” Later this year, with the next generation of projects like News Corp and NBC’s “NewCo” launching (so they say), we’ll see if MSM is ready to walk the walk.