AP, local news networks eye online video networks

It's only in a very early stage, but it appears that newspaper video networks could emerge as the way for newspapers to serve and/or recapture readers in local markets.

Big name companies moving into the space of providing video resources like the Associated Press and Gannett are being joined by smaller players like Rapid City, S.D.-based iNK Barrel Video Networks, which has contracted over 150 newspapers in 20 states for Internet videos of local high school sports, said a story in NetNewsCheck.

"We see ourselves more like a cable network," Stewart Huntington, iNK Barrel's CEO, said in the story. The company is pushing local sports because "[t]hat's where we find the most accessible revenue and successful business out of the gate for broadcasters."

The move into local video is, all things considered, relatively inexpensive. Newspapers can start with about $2,500 worth of equipment--camera, laptop, tripod, connecting ports and wireless microphone--and go from there, Huntington said. The shooting can be done using either volunteers from the schools or low-cost freelancers eager to get paid for a couple hours of work.

On a bigger scale, the AP launched a Video Hub in September, aiming it at newspapers that want to create their own videos and need help from outside sources with raw content. The model mirrors AP's print process, where newspapers sometimes localize national and international content provided by the news service.

"What we wanted to do was find a way to get all of this AP video, of which we have lots, into one place where it would be easy for newspapers to use," said Sue Brooks, director of video transformation at AP. "It is not necessarily designed to be plug-and-play. It's designed for somebody at the customer end to do something with it--to put their own branding or narration on it."

Tellingly, AP is targeting the service at newspapers, not broadcasters. It's still evolving the revenue model.

For now, as with everything in a very fluid space, nothing is set in stone.

"We want the Video Hub to be the first port of call for anybody wanting to use, buy or sell professional news video," Brooks said. "We know that if we can be that first port of call that would build a community of users."

For more:
- NetNewsCheck has this story

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