Reuters Aims ‘Live Stream’ Video Service At News Site Partners

Reuters (NYSE: TRI) is officially launching an online service offering live video access to breaking and scheduled news events to outside publishers as it attempts to challenge the Associated Press and burnish its profile as more than provider and financial news and data.

The service, dubbed Live Stream, has been tested with launch partners The Tribune Company and Australia’s Fairfax Media. It got its big debut last week when the (NYSE: NYT) made use of the live video from the Royal Wedding in the UK, even though the New York Times has not officially signed on as a regular client. (Though the NYT is considering doing so, one source told paidContent.)

For the past few years, Reuters has been working to build up its multimedia offerings on both the general news and financial professional sides. Video has played a big part in that.

Most recently, the company a deal to distribute paparazzi-style video site Hollywood.TV’s content to its clients. Before that, for the more professional, not-necessarily-financial market oriented users, Reuters introduced a Rocketboom-like video series.

And to make sure that it hasn’t forgotten its roots, a year ago, Reuters unveiled “Insider,” a VOD platform intended only for investor-audience subscribers.

“We don’t have a one size fits all model,” said Chris Ahearn, president of media, Thomson Reuters. “Most of our clients have different needs. They are thinking about their web presence in a different way, and video is a big part of that. But unlike broadcast operations, they don’t have video from around the world that’s easily accessible. It’s something we’re making widely available. I think it’s fair to say the US market has been dominated by one provider for a number of years and our clients have said, they want additional services and more content and more flexibility.”

That other “provider” Ahearn was referring to is the AP, which has found itself increasingly challenged not only by Reuters, but by Bloomberg as well. To beat back those threats and maintain its position among newspaper and other outlets, the AP has also moved aggressively into video and multimedia.

Among the services the AP has offered in recent years is AP Live, a packaged player offered to websites that’s themed to major events, such as the Oscars, Fashion Week, the royal wedding. It’s also overhauled its video production in HD, to make it more attractive to TV networks. For years, the AP online video news service has been embedded in hundreds of newspapers’ and other members’ websites as part of the Online Video Network, which completed a switch to a new platform at the end of March.

As for Reuters, it’s planning still more video offerings over the next few months.