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Online News Stations Can Use

Television coverage of the war in Iraq stretched TV-network operations on the ground and in the sky as satellites often were overwhelmed with signals heading from the Middle East around the globe. Hard news ruled the skies, and soft news took a back seat.

For The Newsmarket, that in-the-sky crunch turned into an on-the-ground opportunity as TV-station customers relied more heavily than usual on its service. The Newsmarket offers a Web-based platform that allows broadcast news departments to browse video news clips and content and download them or have them delivered via Express Mail.

Since its inception, the company has seen changes in its customers' comfort level with receiving content via IP delivery. President and CEO Shoba Purushothaman says that, at first, clients used the system to browse the video but typically favored having the content express-mailed. "Then they got brave and started experimenting with digital delivery. Now they go straight to digital delivery because it's easier." She says 850 stations in 60 countries use the service.

The company's Web site ( aggregates b-roll, some video news releases and other content for its users. Headquartered in New York with offices in London, Munich, and Singapore, The Newsmarket provides free video content to its users, content that can usually be used to spice up a voiceover and add color. Along with sending content via the Web and T1 lines, the company also offers an on-demand satellite feed that has proved popular in newsrooms throughout Asia. The tape-delivery option is same day in most markets.

Content providers include AP, Motorola, EDS, DaimlerChrysler and 3Com. "The content providers pay us to digitize, make searchable, and archive the content," Purushothaman says. "The advantage for journalists is they don't have to wade through 10 minutes of b-roll to see if there is a shot of what they need. They can use keywords to cut to the chase."

It would seem to be a natural place for video news releases to proliferate, but the creation and distribution of VNRs has a limited return on investment, Purushothaman says, adding that none of the big-name stations will use VNRs willingly.

Ideally, a one-minute clip can be sent in three to four minutes although it typically takes about six minutes. The speed continues to increase with each passing day.