The Press Association news agency will provide news, sports and entertainment video packages to Standard.co.uk, the website of the now entirely free London Evening Standard, owned by former KGB spy Alexander Lebedev. PA confirms this is a revenue-generating deal that goes beyond the normal text wire service most UK newspapers have.
PA has invested heavily in video news since 2005, training a string of newly hired reporters as video journalists to work in London and its many regional UK offices — but the advertising storm beating down on PA’s traditional newspaper and broadcast customers led to cutting seven of its 100 regional reporter jobs this month, with some of them expected to be video specialists. As most news orgs cut back on freelance, staff and agency spending, it must be heartening for the Press Association to sign a new content deal of any kind.
PA has a dedicated broadcast studio at its London HQ and a video reporter in LA who supplies customers with clips from Hollywood. In May the company launched a video “wire” for newspaper clients to create their own video packages using raw footage. Here’s an example of a PA entertainment vid on the Standard’s new video section. PA signed a similar deal with Independent.co.uk in July.
Meanwhile, PA is putting its faith in attracting public money to an ambitious regional reporting scheme involving up to 800 staff and costing up to £18 million a year. A lot of dough – but only the equivalent of Jonathan Ross’s salary times three, according to PA’s head of training Tony Johnston.
As for Standard.co.uk, it could use a little multimedia: a much hyped — and expensively advertised — print and online relaunch gave users a Twitter account, a new mobile site and not much else. Commuters are visibly enjoying their free print Standard on the streets and buses of the capital – but online the site still lags behind some of its national and regional newspaper peers in terms of what it offers.