By: Jason Williams
Audio, Video Delivered To Members
In the brand-new offices of The Associated Press’ Multimedia Services
sits a corner alcove office where the staff receives its video feeds
from AP Broadcasting and the APTN TV archive. The round-corner cubicle
looks like it was swallowed by an electric octopus, wires and monitors
jut from one box to the next, while video footage from Chechnya plays
on the main monitor.
Many newspaper Web sites, not having access to readily available
content, would kill for this workstation, knowing that audio and video
increases a Web site’s ‘stickiness.’ But help is on the way &3151; or,
rather, the wire.
AP announces the launch of a new service for its members, AP Streaming
News, at the E&P Interactive Newspapers Conference this week. By
joining forces with RealNetworks, AP is providing a trio of audio and
video services for members, including a 365-day audio news update
service, an on-demand service of edited video to accompany the day’s
big stories, and daily live audio and video of various news events.
The fact that the service requires no editing and no technological
expertise makes it a ‘turnkey solution,’ says Jim Kennedy, director of
multimedia services for AP. The organization’s multimedia services are
responsible for AP Online, The Wire, and now AP Streaming Media.
Audio and video clips from all around the world are sent via satellite
to AP, edited using digital workstations, and then sent as compressed
files to RealNetworks’ servers around the nation, promising a clearer
transmission, no matter what the connection speed. A link to the
content is then sent by e-mail to the Web site, and the site manager
need only to cut and paste the URL (uniform resource locator) on the
site. ‘It’s an attractive solution,’ says Kennedy. ‘[For newspaper Web
sites] differentiation is probably going to be video content.’
In addition to being easy to implement, the service is flexible. Web
sites can choose how they wish to include the content on their sites,
from simple links to an embedded player to a specialized RealPlayer
that includes local advertisers on the ‘skin.’
‘There is no AP guy with a microphone,’ Kennedy says. ‘It’s not the
chatty stuff that you see on the evening news.’ Kennedy clicks on a
link to President Clinton’s State of the Union address, while reviewing
an article on this year’s presidential race, remarking that it’s the
ability to listen to the audio or watch the video while one continues
to surf the Net that makes the service attractive.
And it may be the ability of the AP to simplify video and audio content
for its members that attracts members to this service.
Jason Williams (firstname.lastname@example.org ) is the new
media reporter for Editor & Publisher magazine.
(c) Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher