AP SET TO LAUNCH WEB VIDEO SERVICE WEDNESDAY
In partnership with Microsoft’s MSN and member newspapers and broadcast stations, the Associated Press is launching this Wednesday an advertiser-supported Web service featuring up to 50 of its own video news clips every day.
The AP Online Video Network will appear on about 500 Web sites, including about two dozen TV and radio stations, said Jim Kathman, director of strategy and planning for AP Broadcast.
Co-branded with the hosting Web site, the AP service requires no upfront investment or additional staffing by the participating members, Kathman said.
MSN is providing the video streaming (MSN Video Player) and video hosting as well as handling the ad sales, Kathman said. The revenue will be split among AP, MSN and the members, he said.
“This gives members an opportunity to make money off their own content in addition to what they will gain in the addition of eyeballs to their sites, and television stations are uniquely positioned to benefit from this because they produce their own video,” Kathman said.
AP gave the go-ahead for the service last summer and has been beta testing it since late last year with several news radio stations and newspapers including the Cleveland Plain Dealer and San Diego Union Tribune, said Kathman.
The AP is in talks with most large station groups, Kathman said, noting that they are showing more interest in the second generation of the service. Expected to launch six to nine months from now, it will enable participating stations to syndicate their video clips to others.
With broadband penetration now topping half of U.S. homes, TV stations are taking the Internet’s video capability more seriously. Events like Hurricane Katrina have shown that the Web is a capable mass medium for video. MSN reported that 50 million video news streams were downloaded in the four days following the hurricane last year.
Internet Broadcasting and WorldNow, the two principal companies providing Web support to TV stations, now offer video services. WorldNow’s Video Producer enables stations to stream live or recorded videos, but it does not provide any content or a way to syndicate.
Internet Broadcasting, which servce 73 TV stations, including those of NBC, Hearst-Argyle and Cox Television, does provide content and the syndication capability. However, the company does not compensate the stations for syndication, says Internet Broadcasting spokesman Kevin Abramson.
AP is hoping the promise of no upfront investment and revenue from ad sales and video swapping will attract media partners. From AP’s standpoint, the service is not only a new source of revenue, but also a way of driving Web users to other AP products. Participating members must agree to insert links to the AP text versions of the stories.