AP Network Readies For Online Video Demand

As video rapidly becomes compulsory for all online news publishers, the Associated Press late last week announced plans to launch an ad-supported online video network for U.S. newspaper, TV, and radio Web sites. Expected by the fourth quarter, the network will be available through AP member Web sites to help AP and its members keep up with streaming video's growing demand.

The AP is one of many publishers currently cramming their sites with video. For instance, CBSNews.com relaunched earlier this month as a "24-hour broadband network," featuring over 25,000 new and archived videos. Time Warner's CNN also reconfigured its site to offer free video content last month. ABC's Disney likewise tweaked its site to feature video more prominently.

The little data that is currently available to demonstrate video's growing demand is clear. The number of Web users who have consumed streaming video jumped over 10 percent, from 46 percent in November to 57 percent in February, according to comScore Media Metrix. (comScore didn't begin tracking video consumption until November 2004.)

The AP's network will provide members with their own branded video player to display their video, along with AP video and other content on the Web. In exchange, AP members will share in revenue from the streaming video advertising carried on the network, while members will collect all the revenue from advertising generated by their own video.

"AP already is a leading provider of global video news for TV networks, cable operators, and local stations as well as hundreds of Web sites," Hayley Nelson, AP Digital's deputy director of business development, said. "This licensing plan, which takes effect Jan. 1, will allow members broad use of AP content."

Under the new online licensing policy, AP members will be able to broadly use AP products and services across a wide array of digital platforms, including the Web, wireless services, and RSS feeds. Guidelines will be established for those who want to use AP content in other ways, Nelson said.

AP will also implement a new framework for enforcing intellectual property rights. The framework calls for cooperative monitoring and enforcement through the use of various digital protection strategies, as well as licensed access for third-party news engines that want to display AP content.

Separately, the AP board last week approved a 2.2 percent general assessment increase for members next year, coupling it with a new licensing policy for online use of AP content. The rate increase takes effect Jan. 1, and applies to basic and supplemental services for AP's more than 1,500 newspaper and 5,000 broadcast members.

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