If your station suffers from ticker envy, Associated Press has a service for you. It's designed to help stations offer the same fast-moving, constant tickers found on the cable news networks. AP says the response shows stations are interested in getting ticked.
"We've been surprised with the response we've gotten already," says Greg Groce, AP Television director of business operations and development. "Stations are looking for an automated, flexible solution to display the latest headlines. We've tried to develop this in a flexible way so they can select from a broad category of items." Categories include U.S. and international headlines, state news, business, sports, entertainment, tech, politics, health and strange news. A Spanish-language ticker is available. Groce says typical item length is 60-90 characters.
The ticker is delivered via AP's network news transfer protocol in the XML news-industry text format over the Internet. AP worked with character-generator manufacturers Chyron and Pinnacle Systems to make the information easy to get on-air. Content can be pulled from or pushed by AP; local stations can add local items. Cost ranges from a few hundred dollars a month to more than $1,000, depending on market size. Groce says the ticker can run 24/7, opening a number of advertising opportunities.
WAFB(TV) Baton Rouge, La., deploys it. GM Nick Simontette says: "People are so busy, they can't watch the newscast. So the rebroadcast allows them to watch later; the ticker helps by offering the most up-to-date information. It's a good marriage, and we've actually heard from viewers that they like it."