Congrats to Yahoo! And to the Newspaper Consortium. (Reading the comments from the newspaper people, you get the idea many newspapers didn't think Yahoo was going to do anything for them; it was "Well, whatever." Lo! Teaming with Yahoo looks like it was a very good idea.)
From what I have seen of it, the APT format looks much like OpenX and Google Ad Manager--on steroids. Of course, this is where Google Ad Manager wants to go. The big difference is the level of service Yahoo is providing its partners.
Or, rather, Yahoo wants to provide it's partners. They are not there yet. But, I like their focus on very specific web channels such as newspapers. Newspapers have the brand and the content. And Yahoo has the rep and a lot of knowhow. Yeah, there are several others out there trying to do this as well. Some might say Yahoo are a bit late to the game, but I don't think so.
The problem with contextual ads at newspapers (as I oh-so-painfully learned) is that there is not a lot of useful context in the news. Iraq war? Election? Debt crisis? Car wreck? New bridge opens? What are you going to sell in context with that?
But the audience, if you can figure out who they are and where they are, is powerful & valuable. They are engaged readers, opinion leaders, typically with money to spend. But the younger news reader is very different from the older news user. And women are different from men. Location is key, too.
Yahoo has figured this out and is going to try to do something about it. They are going after demographics.
Combine what Yahoo is bring to the newspapers with Associated Press' roll out of their new video player for newspapers and there is reason to believe that newspaper web site are going to get busy.
Still, besides working on the demographics of the news users, newspapers have GOT to start developing more and more local online niche services for the same reason that Yahoo APT is important. The money is in targeting.
If there is one lesson WebmasterWorld members could teach newspapers, that would be it: There is money in the niche.