Exclusive: Microsoft and the Associated Press Teaming with Thousands of Newspapers and Broadcasters in New Online Video Network

By on 03/06/2007 5:54 PM @beet_tv

View a transcript of this interview

The Associated Press, the world’s largest news organization, and Microsoft have developed an online video platform for thousands of U.S. newspapers, television and radio stations to upload, publish and monetize locally-created video.

The new system is in beta tests with some 30 newspaper publishers and broadcasters including The Miami Herald, the Houston Chronicle and the Rocky Mountain News.  The program will go live in about 30 days.

I spoke with Jim Kathman, who heads global broadcast strategy, at world headquarters of the Associated Press in Manhattan.

He explained that publishers can monetize content through a revenue split between MSN Network and the AP.  They also have the option to monetize ads locally against local content by using the Atlas adserving platform.

One year ago, Microsoft and the Associated press launched the Online Video Network, a distribution platform for the video clips created by the Associated Press television unit.  Most of the clips come from abroad — and from major news. In the first year, some 1600 U.S. newspapers and broadcasters have used the video clips on their web sites.

Beet.TV has learned that the AP will stream about 7.5 million clips this month.  CPM (cost per thousand views) is above $20. MSN has sold pre-roll ad inventory on the network to national brand advertisers including GMC, GE, Proctor & Gamble and Netflix. Clearly, the AP has established a successful online video distribution model.

The program currently in beta involves a much bigger pie: it’s the 7,000 newspapers, television and radio stations that are affiliated with the Associated Press and who will create their own content, locally.  The clips will be staff and user-generated video.

The AP projects that as many as 50 percent of affiliates, or some 3,500 local news organizations, will eventually participate in the new video program.

For the nation’s 1000 television stations, many of which have news gathering operations, the opportunity to publish and monetize video is immediate.  For 1500 newspapers and 4500 local radio stations, whose staffs produce very little video right now, the opportunity will be a little bit further off.  It could be that the most immediate opportunity for newspapers and radio stations will be user-generated content.  We’ll have to see.

The next phase of this program, scheduled for this summer, will be a syndication system which allows publishers and broadcasters to nationally distribute locally-created content and monetize content on a network-wide basis.

Although Microsoft is providing the uploading tools, infrastructure and monetization, clips are viewable in both Microsoft Media Player and Flash. 

Local_video_upload_tool_manage_video_scr_1Here’s an image of upload interface which is still in beta.

Andy Plesser

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