Jonas Vig and Mark Davies

Jonas Vig, CEO of Bambuser with Mark Davies, deputy director of international video, AP

Credit: AP
The Associated Press has announced a partnership with livestreaming service Bambuser today which will allow users of the Bambuser app to share their content with the AP.

Bambuser lets users stream live video content from a range of internet-enabled devices directly to its website. The footage can be embedded as part of a news story or liveblog. The service was widely used by activists during the Arab Spring and AP is looking to take advantage of the technology as a newsgathering tool for its journalists.

The deal will see Bambuser users given full credit for any work used by the AP and the opportunity to have their work distributed globally, the news agency said.

Mark Davies, AP deputy director of international video, told Journalism.co.uk the agreement was an exciting development for the global newswire.

"What threw it into pretty sharp relief was how, through the Arab Spring, more and more people within the Middle East turned to Bambuser as a tool for communicating their story to the world. We've been working with Bambuser pretty much since then.

"It's a really exciting development as it gives us rapid access to video in the event of a breaking story but also allows us to quickly verify content. For the Associated Press, these are two key issues not only in terms of delivering stories quickly but also getting them right.

Hans Eriksson, Bambuser executive chairman, said the partnership was a "real breakthrough" for content providers like the AP.

"What's exciting for us is having worked with protesters, activists and bloggers for quite some time, the feedback we get is the best value we can give our users is to help distribute their content as widely as possible.

"This agreement with the Associated Press is a fantastic opportunity for our users who are capturing events all around the world and now have the possibility of having the world's attention drawn to it."

Eriksson added some 10,000 unique videos came out of Egypt during the elections on 28 November 2010, demonstrating the value of having people equipped to shoot footage in the absence of traditional media.

"It is impossible for news companies to have a man or a woman on the ground wherever an incident happens but thanks to their tie with Bambuser, the Associated Press now has the opportunity to distribute live content in breaking news situations faster than ever."

Bambuser is available as an iOS and Android app, which synchronises with social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter as well as offering geotagging and embed functionality. This, according to Davies, demonstrates just how important social media has become during breaking news situations, providing footage is subjected to a strict verification process.

He said: "Going back five or 10 years, you may have had one person there with an old fashioned handycam. Now there will be dozens of people with smartphones who will have recorded that event. It gives us another eye on situations in places where media access is restricted.

"The beauty of this being live technology is it makes verification easier by bringing events into real time. The AP has a very strict process of verification starting with our social media desk.

"What Bambuser has allowed us to do is contact the actual person generating the live stream so we can firstly verify it but also ask all sorts of other questions to find out more about the event. Bambuser's got the technology and the people on the ground; we can add verification and context to aid understanding of the story."

Davies added users would receive mandatory credit for their content and explained why the AP had no exclusivity deal with Bambuser.

Unlike some other user-generated photo and video services such as Demotix and Citizenside, the Bambuser users who capture the content do not receive payment, unless an exclusivity deal is made with the person who filmed the video.

He said: "We want to give people the right credit and distribute their material as widely as possible. In some circumstances we might look at exclusivity but that's becoming less and less the case. When a story breaks, you're likely to be offered dozens of videos of the event so what we're finding in our conversations with users is what they're really interested in is having their work credited."

Bambuser has already found its way into the British media. Last weekend Sky News North of England reporter Nick Martin used the Bambuser iPhone app to livestream a report on panic buying at fuel stations.

The service also featured as Journalism.co.uk's App of the Week in July last year.

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