The Associated Press (AP) has announced a new, expanded deal with video technology company LiveU to enhance the live video capabilities of the news agency.
The new deal means AP will be able to use LiveU's mobile video technology for better coverage of live events, which it has already used to report from the hospital in Pretoria where Nelson Mandela is being treated.
"Every major news story that breaks will have live coverage from a video eye-witness within minutes of it happening," Sandy MacIntyre, AP's director of global video, told Journalism.co.uk. "When journalists arrive on the scene their first thought is going to be ‘we need to get on air live’ – this new technology allows them to do that quickly and cost-effectively.”
The LiveU technology allows live video streaming over mobile networks, such as 4G and 3G, as an alternative to satellite uplink or portable satellite TV equipment.
As well as technology to convert a laptop into a live video transmission unit, LiveU's hardware includes backpack units for high-definition video, or smaller devices that can be clipped on to a belt. These can then connect to a reporter's camera to beam live video back to the production centre from anywhere around the world with connectivity.
"There is increasing demand from worldwide audiences for live video but it has, in the past, been resource heavy to produce," Samuel Wasserman, chief executive of LiveU said in a press release accompanying the announcement. "Now though, our technology means that it can be transmitted live by just one person from any location.”
Footage provided by AP
The new deal comes almost a month after AP bought a minority stake in live video app Bambuser, which allows live-streaming from smartphones, and represents a two-level approach in supplying live video footage to news organisations, MacIntyre explained.
With LiveU, the news agency is able to provide professional-quality live streams more quickly and easily, while Bambuser puts live video capabilities in the hands of the public who may be able to provide footage before journalists arrive at the scene of a story.
"Companies like LiveU and Bambuser are changing the way real-time video news is transmitted from the field to broadcasters and digital publishers – and how it flows through the social media space," MacIntyre said. "AP needs to be at the heart of that change; harnessing the new technology, adding our news judgment, helping viewers understand what the news they are seeing live actually means and explaining why they should care."