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This article was published on June 20, 2013


    AP buys minority stake in Bambuser, the ‘citizen journalist’ video service it partnered with last year

    AP buys minority stake in Bambuser, the ‘citizen journalist’ video service it partnered with last year Image by: Getty Images/Ingram Publishing
    Jon Russell
    Story by

    Jon Russell

    Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on T Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on Twitter, Angel List, LinkedIn.

    The Associated Press (AP) is furthering its relationship with Bambuser, the mobile-based service that helps mobilize citizen journalists, after announcing that it has bought a minority share in the company.

    AP partnered with Bambuser in April 2012 to help give the service’s users — which then numbered 1 million across 190 countries — the chance to share their video content directly with the prestigious news agency, and the investment is seen as a logical next step.

    No figures are being revealed for the deal, but AP says the investment will build on the existing partnership and “strengthen” its sourcing of live video news and eyewitness reporting from Bambuser.

    Bambuser gained prominence in 2011 when it helped get live-broadcast footage of the protests in Cairo to the world, covered the arrest of activists outside the Israeli embassy, and crimes against humanity in Syria. It was also used to film parliamentary elections in Egypt — not to mention its executive chairman Hans Eriksson’s 24-hour journey through London (using people as guides) and the live-stream of the birth of bear cubs in a small town in Sweden.

    The service requires a computer or mobile device — but it can run entirely from a mobile device — on which it can live-stream or record video content which can be shared across its platform and with media partners. Bambuser’s relationship with the AP helps its users’ footage get noticed, and they are credited in full for content used – although they do not get paid.

    The investment deal sees Sandy MacIntyre, AP’s director of global video news, join the startup’s board as a non-executive director. The media firms calls its investment “the culmination of a three-year relationship” with Bambuser, that began before the two signed their agreement last year.

    “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 user-generated content video news,” MacIntyre said in a statement.

    “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,” he added.

    Bambuser’s Eriksson called the deal “an important milestone in Bambuser’s journey” which will help both parties collaborate even closer going forward.

    The news follows Bambuser’s release of a new SDK that allows developers and app-makers to integrate live video broadcasting into apps for Android and iOS. That further widens the net for user generated content and crowdsourced reporting.

    ➤ Bambuser

    Headline image via Thinkstock