|Broadcasters worldwide will be provided with live coverage in the event of a new Gulf war through a ground-breaking venture by the world's largest television news agency.
AP (AP) is launching AP Direct - two extra channels available to television news companies which already subscribe to its main satellite service, known as the Global Video Wire.
The aim of AP Direct will be to provide live coverage of events as they unfold in Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Turkey, Israel, and Britain and the United States, as well as live reaction from other parts of the world.
AP Direct will go on air at 0700 GMT on 14 March 2003 - or earlier, if necessary - and will operate 24-hours a day, seven days a week, initially for a three-month period.
The service is the result of 12 months of planning and a multi-million dollar investment in hardware, software and satellite capacity by the London-based company.
The first step of the planning was to get a satellite uplinking truck into Baghdad last October, which has since transmitted AP's news video from the Iraqi capital, as well as reports for dozens of other international broadcasters.
AP now has a total of 120 staff with 40 cameras deployed throughout the Middle East.
It has also assigned 12 satellite earth stations to the region - including five, which are truck-mounted. The earth stations are capable of transmitting live news for AP's subscribers to be used by broadcasters for transmitting their own reports.
The satellite trucks include specially-constructed desert-friendly vehicles with the latest, lightweight uplinks mounted on the roof.
Every AP team in the field has also been equipped with the latest software to allow them to transmit video over satellite telephones - giving them maximum mobility and speed of delivery.
Television news agencies provide the bedrock of many broadcasters' international news - but only a limited amount of that material has been transmitted live in the past.
Nigel Baker, AP's Director of Content, said: "This represents the biggest investment ever made by a television news agency in a single story."
"In a wired world, immediacy is the element of reporting now demanded by all major broadcasters. We have made our plans to rise to that challenge."
All AP clients will still receive the key images on the main channel - but those subscribing to AP Direct will also get a flow of live material.
AP received a special award from Britain's Royal Television Society for the coverage it provided to broadcasters on 11 September.
Delivering breaking global news, sport, entertainment, technology and human interest video content to broadcasters, online and mobile platforms. Video captured by AP can be seen by over half of the world’s population on any given day.
Providing broadcast facilities and technical expertise via our global network of strategically-positioned bureaux.
AP is the international video division of The Associated Press.
For further information, please contact:
Director of Content
Tel: +44 (0)20 7482 7447
Email Nigel Baker