AP/MSN Launch Web Video Service


As promised, The AP and MSN Wednesday launched a new breaking news video service to the 450 member Web sites that have signed on so far.

The service came in like a lion, feeding a 90-second report Wednesday on AP's scoop video of a pre-Katrina-strike meeting at which the President and emergency management officials talked about the possibility of levy breaks in New Orleans.

Brad Kalbfeld, deputy director and managing director of AP Broadcast, says breaking the story on the same day that the new Web service launched was a combination of planning and fortuity, saying the service was working on several stories for the debut.

The AP Online Video Network will supply potentially as many as 4,000 AP broadcast and newspaper members with about 40 video clips per day of national and international news.

MSN is in working on adding local content and local advertising functionality to allow members to further brand and monetize the video network.

The service also launched with stories from Mardi Gras in New Orleans, along with a package of stories on the six-month anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

The ad-supported service, which began testing Jan. 19, is free to members who agree to place prominent links to it on their sites. For that, the member gets a custom-branded media player, a portion of the ad revenue, and daily video from the AP, which says 50 brands are signed on to advertise.

The content will be available on a nonexclusive basis--as is AP's style--to any member station, but each will get to brand the player.

Is it the same video supplied to stations for broadcast, or is it Web-exclusive. "Neither," says Kalbfeld, or put another way, both.

AP essentially gathers news--audio, video, stills--from across the nation and globe, collects it in a central place, then packages it according to member needs.

For example, broadcasters got a longer, more loosely edited, narration-free piece on the Katrina-meeting scoop--rougher cut, longer sound bites, b-roll--so members could tighten to taste and ad their own audio. By contrast, the Web version that launched on the new video service was a tightly edited, anchored piece.

Essentially, the service gives members an edited Web news presence from AP without having to spend the overhead to do it themselves.