Last night, Microsoft and The Associated Press (AP) announced a join venture to develop the AP Online Video Network, which will provide AP members with news video content for their Web sites. As part of the deal, Microsoft will provide its MSN-branded Video Player software and will create an advertising syndication system for AP affiliates.
"We are thrilled to help The Associated Press bring online video to thousands of AP member Web sites," says MSN director of advertising and business strategy Todd Herman. "The combination of AP news excellence and Microsoft scalable technology will enable our advertisers to better reach the huge audience of people who now turn primarily to the Internet for their information."
Microsoft's work with the AP is the software giant's second effort related to deploying news video online via the MSN Video Player. Previously, the company had worked with MSNBC.com, its exclusive MSN content partner, in a similar venture aimed at end users.
The AP, however, represents a different kind of market. As the oldest news agency in the world and a nonprofit enterprise, the AP provides news content to over 3500 publications and broadcasters in the US alone. The AP will maintain full editorial control over the content released via the service.
The new AP video service will be made available to AP members in early 2006. The AP says it will not charge for the service, which will be ad supported. According to the companies, each news video clip will be preceded by 15-30 second advertisements.
In related news, America Online (AOL) announced that it will offer CBS News video content on its Web site. AOL already offers video news content from CNN, ABC, Reuters and yes, the AP. As with the video news content the AP plans for its own service, AOL's news spots are preceded by short advertisements.