AP buys stake in Bambuser, strengthens live UGC video capability

The Associated Press has purchased a minority stake in Bambuser, the  live video service that allows users to broadcast, watch and share live video through mobile phones and computers. The investment builds on the exclusive editorial relationship that the AP has with Bambuser.

Under terms of the deal AP’s director of global video news, Sandy MacIntyre, will join Bambuser’s board as a non-executive director. It is the culmination of a three-year relationship with Bambuser that last year saw the AP sign an operational agreement providing news agency exclusivity for real-time video syndication of content from participating Bambuser users. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Bambuser has a proven track record for enabling real-time creation, solicitation and distribution of user-generated content (UGC), especially for news-related content.

The AP already uses UGC-sourced and verified content as an everyday part of the news agency’s newsgathering activities, and there is increasing demand for live video content from broadcasters and online publishers. Through Bambuser, AP can source UGC video news live from the scene from eyewitnesses exclusively for its broadcast and online publisher customers. In addition, Bambuser provides the AP with access to an established community of video contributors who can act as effective “first responders” across the world. AP’s journalists also use Bambuser as a newsgathering tool when out in the field.

“User-generated video content of live and breaking news is the new frontier of news generation,” MacIntyre said. “Bambuser is the proven platform for eyewitnesses around the world to stream their video content and has been invaluable to the AP over the past year, allowing us to access footage of verifiable breaking news stories that would simply not have been possible before. Moreover, we have always been deeply impressed by the proven technology from the small but very talented team at Bambuser.”

MacIntyre added: “This investment by the AP is a natural extension of our existing relationship with Bambuser and will ensure that we retain our dominant capability in gathering and verifying UGC video news. The evidence that UGC is set to grow in importance and volume is plain to see. Nearly a fifth of the world’s population has a smartphone and that is a phenomenal eyewitness resource that Bambuser makes technologically possible. It means that anyone can be one button click away from generating live news that will change the way the world receives the “first word” of a story. With the AP and Bambuser working closely together, I firmly believe we can take UGC to new heights.”

UK, London

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Al Jazeera Acquires Current TV

al-Jazeera-0021Qatar based Al Jazeera has acquired US cable network Current TV. The terms of the deal were not disclosed, however, analysts have estimated the deal could have been worth up to $500 million (Source).

Current TV was launched in 2005 by former US Vice President Al Gore and fellow Democrat Joel Hyatt centred on featuring a mixture of user generated content and original programming. With this approach the network achieved only disappointing ratings, prompting a shift towards traditional programming in 2009. Later movements towards becoming a more progressive news channel have brought typical viewer figures of around 42,000.

Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani, director general of Al Jazeera, said in a statement “by acquiring Current TV, Al Jazeera will significantly expand our existing distribution footprint in the US, as well as increase our newsgathering and reporting efforts in America.”

Al Jazeera has continued that it will eventually replace Current TV’s programming and plans to use the acquisition to create Al Jazeera America (separate from Al Jazeera English), enabling it to allow its programming to reach more than 40 million US households, compared to the 4.7 million today. Furthermore, Al Jazeera will open bureaus in the US in addition to those already existing in New York, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago, doubling its US based staff.

Qatar, Doha & US, San Francisco, CA