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RealTime IT News

Stop the Presses: AP, MSN Go Video Route

The Associated Press (AP) and Microsoft's MSN division said they're developing a video news player for AP members' Web sites.

The move comes as newspapers struggle to adjust their business models to satisfy the growing number of readers who prefer news delivered to their Dells rather than their doorsteps.

"We want to work with members to help them incorporate new content and technology," Sue Cross, AP vice president of newspapers online, told internetnews.com. "In this case, it's pretty easy because [the player] is designed to be turn-key."

AP Online Video Network will be available to 3,500 U.S. newspaper and broadcast members in January. Media outlets can have their own customized players for free, and they will get a cut of the ad revenue that flows through their sites.

Cross declined to cite what percentage of ad dollars will stay with AP members, but said it "is not minor."

Initially, AP will provide 50 video clips per day spanning national, international, entertainment, technology and business news. The AP Online Video Network will grow as network members and other content partners contribute video.

It's the latest effort to help AP members use technology to better serve readers, Cross said. Other initiatives include RSS feeds, podcasting and a multimedia offering for younger readers.

A joint news release said AP will have "full control" over editorial content.

As one of the world's largest and most influential companies, Microsoft makes news every day. And AP members don't want to be open to charges of overplaying positive stories about the software giant and underplaying negative ones.

"There's no connection between editorial coverage and the technology or advertising partners we have," Cross said. "AP is very conscious of keeping our editorial independence and credibility."

Accepting the AP Online Video Network does not prevent AP members from using video from other content providers, Cross said. The partnership could only help newspapers address the rapid readership shift created by the Internet.

The average weekday U.S. newspaper circulation fell 2.6 percent in past six months, according to the Newspaper Association of America.

Although the industry group reported a drop in daily circulation at 789 newspapers, and decline in Sunday circulation, the NAA said newspaper sites continue to draw record numbers. More than 47 million people visited newspaper sites in September, the NAA said.

With today's partnership, those visitors will see more news -- and news providers may see more money.