22 May 2014
In this evolving media landscape, there is no question about the growing power of video. As a major newswire, Associated Press is putting resources into this medium to meet readers' and viewers’ growing appetite for all things visual. Sandy MacIntyre is in charge of global video news for AP and his recent strategic focus has been on the US video market. His job is to produce the kind of video news which will drive revenue and grow business, while staying true to the core values of a traditional news agency: 'Be fast, be right and be relevant'.
The U.S. market has been affected by seismic changes in technology that allow people to consume news via broadband and mobile on the move at any time. That dramatic increase of smartphones and tablets requires a fresh business model. As for the other areas of the world, MacIntyre notes that 'they areeach evolving at a different pace', when you talk about technology. What they all have in common is 'the news that attract eyeballs has to be big news and it has to impact people's lives'.
Over the last 18 months, 'the U.S. market has split into segments' MacIntyre says. First, newspapers, who want AP video content for their sites. The agency creates the content and partners with other companies to deliver the final product. The second segment is composed of major aggregators - portals who are 'voracious consumers' of video. Also playing a bigger role, local TV stations (both network affiliated and independent ones) wanting to find video news that sets them apart and gives them something distinctive they can localize. Associated Press video content is especially strong in breaking news and celebrity coverage and recently in personal health.
Towards User-Generated Content
We asked MacIntyre what will the future of video looks like: 'We are at a place where any citizen can shoot or livestream a video with a cellphone'. It is necessary for AP to be able to 'find that content first, verify its accuracy and establish who owns the copyright before we syndicate it'. That is the reason AP made an equity investment in Bambuser, a platform to livestream content from a smartphone. AP recently used it to cover breaking news from Syria and Egypt: “Some of the most memorable breaking news images from both conflict were shot by activists.”
In the end, 'everybody competes for the same eyeballs'. AP has already taken a step forward to make sure that publishers and readers get the content that they need. And they’ve harnessed the same strength which has served the agency well for more than 160 years - Be fast, be right and be relevant.