NEW YORK — The Associated Press said Thursday that it's investing $30 million in its video operations so that the news cooperative can deliver its reports in high definition to more than 1,000 broadcasters and websites beginning next year.
The digital upgrade represents the AP's largest investment in its video division since buying one of its rivals, Worldwide Television News, in 1998.
The financial commitment reflects the growing demand for high-definition video as high-speed Internet connections and new gadgets such as smart phones and Apple Inc.'s iPad have created new ways for people to watch clips.
The not-for-profit AP has been boosting its video offerings to help offset a decline in the revenue that it gets from newspapers, once the cooperative's financial backbone.
Prompted by a steep decline in print advertising that began in 2006, the AP has lowered newspaper fees to help publishers cope. The cuts have dropped AP's newspaper revenue by nearly half over two years — from about $220 million in 2008 to a projected $140 million this year.
Revenue from AP's video operations should range from $150 million to $160 million this year, up from nearly $130 million in 2008, said Daisy Veerasingham, AP's senior vice president of business development and partner relations. She estimated AP would invest $30 million in the analog-to-digtal conversion.
The AP hasn't publicly forecast its total revenue for this year, but it's expected to be down from last year's $676 million.
The AP's switch to high-definition video will begin next year with its entertainment coverage and expand into sports and other news by 2012. The video division has bureaus in more than 80 countries.
"By deepening our investment and transitioning to digital, we reaffirm our commitment to bringing each day's most vital videos to audiences worldwide in easy-to-use formats at the fastest possible speeds," said Kathleen Carroll, AP's executive news editor.
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