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The Associated Press is launching its high-definition AP Entertainment news service as part a “multi-million” dollar upgrade that will make all its video news available in the HD format by the first half of 2012.
The AP began overhauling its video capabilities last November, when AP Television News started planning a “multimillion-dollar upgrade” of its video and image production. For London-based APTN, the company’s global video news agency, the revamp is considered the single biggest investment the wire service has made in it since 1998, when the AP bought its competitor, Worldwide Television News.
Competition between the AP and a variety of news services has centered around providing multimedia, as Reuters (NYSE: TRI), Bloomberg and Dow Jones (NSDQ: NWS) have placed greater emphasis on broadband video as well as supplying news to cable and broadcast outlets.
AP Entertainment Daily News, as the HD video venture is called, will cover the usual mix of celebrities, fashion, awards shows, film premieres, concerts and theater. The service runs more than 300 stories per month. AP’s Celebrity Extra, Movies Now, Film File and Entertainment Now are also available to customers in HD.
To make sure its clients stay interested, the AP will be producing a higher volume of entertainment stories on weekends, which will amount to an extra 50 minutes’ worth of weekly entertainment video.
Sports will be the next area to get the HD video treatment. That part is expected to be available in January, giving it plenty of time to get ready for the summer Olympics Games in London and the U.S. presidential elections in November. Release