AP to Launch Web Video Network

NEW YORK The Associated Press said it would offer an ad-supported Web video network to its members.

The video news network, slated to begin by the end of the year, will be available to the AP’s more than 6,500 newspaper and broadcast members. AP will provide the sites with a branded video player and access to its daily video news feed. The feeds would include 15- and 30-second pre-roll advertising, with participating members getting an undisclosed cut of the ad sales for videos watched on their sites. AP plans to offer 15 to 25 videos per day to members at launch, expanding on that throughout 2006 with more video content in business, technology and politics.

“It’s a way for [AP members] to offer rich video content, even if they’re a small site with limited resources,” said Hayley Nelson, deputy director of business development at AP Digital.

AP has contracted with a third party to run ad sales for the network, but Nelson would not name the company.

News Web sites have greatly increased the amount of video content available on their sites, hoping to benefit from growing demand for Web video ads. CBSNews.com overhauled its site this month to focus on broadband video, and CNN.com last month switched its online video content from a subscription to ad-supported model.

As a further sweetener, the AP said it would allow its members to run their own video content through the player, keeping all of the ad revenue generated. Sites can also contribute video for use by other members of the AP cooperative, with compensation tied to the number of AP members who pick up the video.

While large Web publishers have mostly dominated the early market for video content, smaller sites are adding video. Lightningcast, a maker of online video technology, is building a Web video network for advertisers to run Internet video ads on several small- to medium-size Web sites. That network is slated to launch in September.