Today’s audiences expect live video coverage on multiple devices and platforms. To meet growing demand, AP launched three additional live content channels — for a total of four — from our online video delivery platform, AP Video Hub. Previously available only to digital publishers, the additional channels offer broadcasters a wider range of scheduled live global and regional events on top of breaking news.
“AP revolutionized how live content was delivered to broadcasters when it launched AP Direct in 2003,” says Derl McCrudden, head of international video news for AP. “Live video is clearly playing a significant role in broadcasters’ strategies and the latest changes help strengthen their ability to retain and attract audiences across all their platforms.”
To ensure AP customers are well-equipped to meet demand, we also invested in additional live newsgathering capacity. In Europe we hired staff, updated equipment and expanded video coverage across the region.
AP is delivering greater breadth of video content to customers via Video Hub Marketplace. Customers now have a “one-stop shop” to access not only AP’s core global news offerings, but also great niche content that varies by both genre and geography.
AP partners around the globe — 10 of which were added to the program in 2015 — provide content for Video Hub Marketplace. Whether customers want soundbites from celebrities walking the red carpet in Hollywood, user-generated content documenting extreme weather, video from United Nations’ peacekeeping missions, or professionally produced stories covering various aspects of life in China, AP offers an increasing variety of video content options for use on digital platforms.
The fiscal crisis in Greece, plans by the U.S. and Cuba to open embassies in each other’s capital and tennis competition at Wimbledon were among many developing stories in 2015 that AP journalists covered in a new live blog-like presentation. The new filing system, called The Latest, presents short blocks of text on a running story in a broadcast-friendly fashion that works for both online and on-air use.
When used, AP journalists file time-stamped updates that are stacked on top of each other so that The Latest becomes a running file showing how a story evolved.
“The Latest allows us to imbue developing stories with a you-are-there quality, which makes them feel all the more fresh and current,” said AP Director of Top Stories Kristin Gazlay.
AP has deployed a team of tech-savvy journalists to build newsroom tools for managing massive data dumps, crunch numbers to discover high-impact stories and create new types of content for AP customers. The result? Improved public access to critical information and increased distribution of localized data to thousands of news organizations, all through expanded quantitative analysis of big data.
In one analysis of four years’ of data, AP proved that major food retailers had fallen short in their promise to open or expand grocery or convenience stores in and around neighborhoods without supermarkets. In another, data gathering uncovered more than 21,000 oilfield wastewater spills totaling around 175 million gallons that had occurred over a six-year period in the 11 states that produce more than 90 percent of U.S. onshore oil.
A grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation will enable AP to deliver more big-data stories with local relevance in the future.
In 2015, AP tapped its reputation for high-quality content, worldwide footprint and far-reaching delivery channels to establish AP Content Services. The new division provides talent, technology and distribution to help agencies and brands promote their products and services through multiformat storytelling.
AP Content Services offers end-to-end content creation and delivery solutions to increase brand awareness, enhance consumer engagement and drive sales and audience acquisition. Services can take many forms, including photography, videos, articles, infographics and interactives.
The Content Services team uses freelance writers, photographers and videographers separate from the AP newsroom, yet still upholds AP’s standard for high-caliber storytelling.
AP’s exploration of the startup world is opening up new paths to innovation. Our partnership with Automated Insights, begun in 2014, continues to produce results. The North Carolina company’s natural language processing technology helps us generate more than 3,000 U.S. corporate earnings reports each quarter. This gives AP customers more stories about companies in their markets than ever before and AP journalists more time for original reporting.
A 2015 investment in an Irish startup, NewsWhip, has led to the development of powerful new tools to track where and how AP content is being used and how much attention it is getting on social networks. We’re also planning to offer NewsWhip’s solutions to our customers to enhance their own view of trending news.
AP explored the use of virtual reality in storytelling in 2015. A collaboration between AP and RYOT captured in a 360-degree view how migrants created a town—complete with restaurants and even a beauty salon—in a rugged part of France as they worked to cross the English Channel to Britain. “Seeking Home: Life inside the Calais Migrant Camp” is available in full VR experience with Samsung gear or Oculus through the RYOT VR mobile app; it is also available via Google Cardboard-compatible or 360 video on AP’s YouTube channel and in a video interactive.
Also last year, AP joined a group of media organizations collaborating with Matter Ventures, a startup accelerator based in San Francisco. Matter develops new media companies from the ground up through a prototype-driven design process. As part of the program, Matter also runs a special “boot camp” for AP and the other partners, providing some of the same training the startups receive. This unique program is expanding to New York City in 2016.