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Video exchange hits the www

London-based TVZ and New York's Newsmarket both announce that high speed video exchange over the internet is now a reality. The development is likely to benefit freelancers around the world.

TVZ, the UK-based broadcast information exchange claims to have finally cracked the software involved in enabling entirely web-based video exchange. The move could revolutionise the global television news business, where the distribution of news footage is dominated by Reuters TV and Associated press Television News (APTN).

The development of the software has been a Holy Grail for former camaraman Pete Henderson and former WTN correspondent Ken Herron who set up TVZ’s predecessor, the ill-fated Tvnewsweb.com, in 2000. That operation failed because it could not deliver the final part in the equation, the broadcast quality footage, over the worldwide web. Although news editors around the world were able to view offerings in real time in non-broadcast quality, the final delivery still depended on satellites and that was the expense which drove tvnewsweb to the wall.

The new service was first offered on TVZ’s site in the last week of June and Henderson is confident that it will win back the custom of the small TV stations which struggle to afford the high priced packages on offer from RTV and APTN.

The service is also likely to receive a warm welcome from the world’s freelance community, who stand to benefit most from the service because it is designed to ensure that clients pay them directly. TVZ will be, effectively, the middle-man who puts producer and client in touch with each other. This is a sharp contrast to the traditional system, which has ensured that freelancers benefit least from their own work.

In a separate move, the New York based NewsMarket, Inc., the web-based video distribution specialist, has raised $3 million in new capital to fund expansion of its products and services. Ascend Venture Group led a syndicate of institutional investors, while several strategic investors also participated in the financing round, which was over-subscribed by 50 percent.

Through The NewsMarket's unique global platform, journalists worldwide are able to search, preview and download broadcast-quality video from various sources, including major global companies, government agencies, NGOs, other institutions and freelance news producers. The NewsMarket derives revenue from these content creators to market and distribute their video to media users. Most of the content stored in TheNewsMarket's archives is available to broadcasters free of rights and free of charge.

"We're on track to become a major player in the video news distribution sector," says Shoba Purushothaman, CEO and co-founder of The NewsMarket. "Despite revenue growth of more than 400 percent, we decided to look for extra capital to help us move as fast as we need to in order to leverage our 18-month lead in this market, and to launch second-generation products".

James Thomas, The NewsMarket's Director of Strategic Alliances, added, "The timing is perfect. Broadcast-quality delivery over the Internet is now a reality thanks to companies like Telestream and TVZ. We expect The NewsMarket to become an essential tool for broadcast journalists looking for anything from breaking news to stock shots. The potential is almost limitless, and we'll be working closely with both established and emerging content providers and users to ensure we give the industry what it wants in the digital age."

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