Meeting changing demands for archive content

By Alan Bradshaw

Our director of international archives explains how archive content is now being used in different forms of storytelling, and why we’re adding additional footage from China and Brazil.

Storytelling used to be the territory of media organisations, who would report on the news and events that shape our world and share them with global audiences. Now all kinds of companies are crafting stories, using content in different ways to engage with their audiences, both internally and externally. The huge rise in the use of video and the increasing growth in content marketing have meant that, at The Associated Press, we have seen changes in both our customers and their preferences for archive content.

On a day-to-day basis, we now work with a much wider range of organisations. Producers of films and documentaries used to be our primary customer base, but that now includes schools, museums, galleries, charities, corporations and media companies – as well as members of the public. Never before have we seen such a varied selection of people looking to make use of the content we hold in our archives.

For example, a charity may want footage for an online video campaign or a TV commercial. In those instances, they will usually want to source content from one of the many disasters that have occurred around the world. A marketing or advertising agency might be looking for historic video for a client’s brand video, such as a clip of the first prototype of a car – Land Rover recently approached us with this request.

Storytelling can also come into play in the classroom. As learning becomes increasingly interactive, subjects such as history can be brought to life through footage from the past that is not always easy to access.

In addition to our diversifying customer base, we have also seen a greater interest in news from China during the past few years. And we know there will be high demand for content around the upcoming Olympics in Rio de Janeiro next year. In response, we have formed agreements with both CCTV+, the video news agency of China Central Television, and NewSource Globo, the news and broadcasting services agency of Brazil’s top TV network.

In order to build an AP Archive collection containing more than 1.7 million global news and entertainment video stories dating to 1895, we often collaborate with content providers. CCTV+ allows us to offer both Chinese news and a Chinese perspective on international news, while NewSource Globo possesses the largest audiovisual library in South America and contains footage from the past half-century. Its archives include main events in the region’s history, including politics, economics and cultural changes, as well as sports, entertainment and lifestyles.

They join our existing collection of partners, which includes RTL Germany, British Movietone, ABC News, TV-AM and RTR Russia. Feedback from customers indicate an appreciation for being able to access such a wide range of content – from different regions and different eras – from the same platform.

As with any industry or business, the environment we operate in continues to change. We add new content to our archives each day, but our content providers are critical in ensuring that we can continue to meet demands as they come in – regardless of where they come from.

Alan Bradshaw

Alan is the director of international archives for The Associated Press, based in London.

video, archive, insights