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AP Puts Three Live HD Video News Channels Online: IBC 2015

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AP has been serving live views of breaking world news since it launched satellite service AP Direct in 2003, but just before IBC began the news agency announced a service that delivers even more live coverage—and uses the internet to do so.

Called Live Choice, the service currently delivers up to two live streams at a time and will add a third by the end of the month. By adding three more live streams to its video offerings AP is able to satisfy customers and expand coverage. This is the first time AP has offered HD video online.

"Live Choice is a new live product, HD quality, that allows AP to provide our customers with three simultaneous live event in broadcast quality," said Paul Shanley, director of development partnerships for AP.

By necessity, the original AP Direct service focuses on breaking news in the world's hotspots. Live Choice, on the other hand, can mix in more regional and lifestyle content. During StreamingMedia.com's demo, the AP Direct service showed live video of Europe's refugee crisis, while the Live Choice schedule included upcoming FIFA and auto show events.

"it gives us a greater ability to offer our customers what's most important to them," Shanley said.

Live Choice will offer roughly 400 live events per month. The schedule currently includes events as late as May 2016. AP provides advance notice so that customers can sell ads or sponsorships for upcoming streams. Customers purchase a customized monthly plan that provides a certain number of credits based on their needs. Live events go for 25 credits, while short clips range from 4 to 10 credits. Customers are able to scale up as their live needs grow. There's also an all-you-can-eat option for major news sites. The AP Video Hub offers a seven-day free trial for the service. After talking with an AP representative, prospective customers can get another 30 days free for testing.

While Live Choice streams are available in embeddable players and RTMP feeds, Shanley says most customers prefer to use an AP decoder box that creates an SDI stream, just as they get from the satellite service. Live events aren't archived after they stream, but are turned into short clips that customers can download.

Live Choice was born out of AP customer requests for more live video to fill their various platforms. Live video creates huge engagement numbers for sites: For major events, AP sees average viewing times of 20 to 25 minutes. During long events such as the Oscar Pistorius trial or the Hong Kong protests, AP saw people leave the video open on their desktops for hours. The service is scalable, giving AP the option to add more live channels in the future. AP doesn't currently offer 4K streams, but isn't seeing customer demand for that yet.

"For AP, Live Choice is part of an overall video initiative to continue to increase our output," Shanley says. "Our customs are telling us live is important to them, and live is where their business is growing."

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