Why are more newspapers turning to video? It’s what readers expect, says the AP’s Director of Video

Why are more newspapers turning to video? It’s what readers expect, says the AP’s Director ...

The Next Web was out and about at IBC in Amsterdam this past week, and we caught up with some of the key movers and shakers from the digital media space.

One of these companies was The Associated Press (AP), who you’ve no doubt encountered before, even if you don’t know it. The AP was founded way back in 1846, and today it’s one of the largest news agencies in the world – it claims that its news reaches more than half the world’s population, in some form or another.

AP was among the first news agencies to launch a live video news service, way back in 2003, covering the invasion of Iraq, in real-time. Today, around 200 broadcasters use it as a live video source, tapping AP’s coverage to bring news and analysis to their own viewers. Recent events available live have included the London Olympics, the Syrian civil war and the Norway trial of Anders Breivik.

Then last week, the AP rolled out its new Video Hub service. This launched in beta back in April, offering global news, entertainment, SNTV (sports) and lifestyle videos, with curators selecting and promoting breaking news content alongside key footage from the AP’s archives. And as of last week, it also includes its live news service, as the agency looks to tempt more media companies on board.

The AP Video Hub is designed specifically with digital publishers in mind. Indeed, one of its first customers is the UK’s Daily Telegraph, which will tap the round-the-clock live news stream for breaking news events, which is in line with developments we’re seeing elsewhere in the ‘traditional’ newspaper market.

The Wall Street Journal, for example, is placing a bigger focus on the moving image – back in May it saw 19.7m video streams, a three-fold increase since the start of the year, while The New York Times recently relaunched a larger online video player, featuring a new design and better navigation.

During our interview with David Hoad, Director of Global Video at the AP, we asked him about its new Video Hub, its partnership with citizen journalism video platform Bambuser, the evolution of video at The AP and, importantly, why we’re seeing a rise in traditional print-based media outlets taking to the video realm.

“A lot of it is just the expectation of viewers, of us as the general public,” says Hoad. “We’re just no longer satisfied with reading text-based articles anymore. Putting the video up there gives them a different way of telling that story, to an audience that expects moving content. We all have tablets and smartphones which enable us to see moving content. As a viewer, we expect that content, so those traditional newspapers sites have to follow suit. Otherwise they’re going to be overtaken.”

So, this sounds symptomatic of the MTV Generation, right? “Very much so, it’s the youthful generation growing up,” adds Hoad. “A friend of mine has a 3-year-old daughter who’s utterly proficient on the iPad. She’ll grow up knowing nothing but that environment. So her expectation of instant information and instant video will always be there.”

Check out our interview with David Hoad in full here.

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