LONDON -- The Associated Press today announced the purchase of a minority stake in Bambuser, the pioneering live video service that allows users to broadcast, watch and share live video through mobile phones and computers. The investment builds on the exclusive editorial relationship that the AP has with Bambuser and further strengthens the AP’s world-leading capability to source and stream live video news from eyewitnesses.
Under terms of the deal AP’s director of global video news, Sandy MacIntyre, will join Bambuser’s board as a non-executive director. It is the culmination of a three-year relationship with Bambuser that last year saw the AP sign an operational agreement providing news agency exclusivity for real-time video syndication of content from participating Bambuser users.
AP’s investment follows the successful development by Bambuser of both its technology and user base. Bambuser has a proven track record for enabling real-time creation, solicitation and distribution of user-generated content (UGC), especially for news-related content. This is supported by a broad product portfolio and clear product roadmap designed to target the needs of a rapidly changing and evolving news media landscape
By making this investment, AP is cementing its leadership in UGC newsgathering. The AP already uses UGC-sourced and verified content as an everyday part of the news agency’s newsgathering activities, and there is increasing demand for live video content from broadcasters and online publishers. Through Bambuser, AP can source UGC video news live from the scene from eyewitnesses exclusively for its broadcast and online publisher customers. This not only ensures that the AP remains the foremost global provider of live video news, but also helps its customers overcome their own UGC challenges. In addition, Bambuser provides the AP with access to an established community of video contributors who can act as effective "first responders" across the world. AP’s journalists also use Bambuser as a newsgathering tool when out in the field.
The AP has been at the forefront of UGC usage for global newsgathering. From the outset, AP has applied the same high level of editorial standards for UGC as to its own newsgathering. This includes the application of a strict verification process that ensures the robustness of the news output. Recent high-profile examples of UGC stories from the AP include:
• The siege of Homs
• Video taken by activists inside the Syrian government's Taftanaz air base in northern Idlib province
• The Oklahoma tornado
• The Russian meteor
• Aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings
• The Waco, Texas, explosion
• London helicopter crash
"User-generated video content of live and breaking news is the new frontier of news generation," MacIntyre said. "Bambuser is the proven platform for eyewitnesses around the world to stream their video content and has been invaluable to the AP over the past year, allowing us to access footage of verifiable breaking news stories that would simply not have been possible before. Moreover, we have always been deeply impressed by the proven technology from the small but very talented team at Bambuser."
MacIntyre added: "This investment by the AP is a natural extension of our existing relationship with Bambuser and will ensure that we retain our dominant capability in gathering and verifying UGC video news. The evidence that UGC is set to grow in importance and volume is plain to see. Nearly a fifth of the world’s population has a smartphone and that is a phenomenal eyewitness resource that Bambuser makes technologically possible. It means that anyone can be one button click away from generating live news that will change the way the world receives the “first word” of a story. With the AP and Bambuser working closely together, I firmly believe we can take UGC to new heights."
Hans Eriksson, executive chairman at Bambuser, said: "Working so closely with the AP over the last year has proven the huge demand for user-generated video content. This equity investment is an important milestone in Bambuser’s journey as it not only brings our two organizations closer, but enables us to share our expertise to an even greater extent."
Eriksson added: "It also comes at a time of exciting developments within Bambuser. Recently we initiated the rollout of new SDK [software development kit] that enables customers and partners to integrate and customize live video broadcasting capabilities directly into their consumer apps for iOS and Android with just a few lines of code, allowing anyone to be a live video reporter. This marks another milestone in Bambuser's mission to bring live video broadcasting to the mass market and change newsgathering."