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AP signs up 900 sites for its Winter Olympics site

Wed, 02/03/2010 - 9:13am

(AP) -- The Associated Press said Tuesday that more than 900 newspapers and broadcasters will be supplementing their online coverage of the Vancouver Winter Olympics with a special package of stories, photographs, video and blogs produced by the AP.

The coverage also will be available on http://wintergames.ap.org , which will bear the brands of the AP and a participating local newspaper or broadcaster. The ad revenue generated from the online traffic will be split between the AP and the participating media.

It marks the AP's most ambitious attempt yet to sell Internet advertising as its revenue from print and broadcasting declines, according to Mike Lutzky, the global director of AP sports products. And with hundreds of media links pointing to it, the online hub may stand a better chance of attracting a large audience because of the way search engines rank Web sites in their results.

Lutzky said the effort also benefits the news cooperative's members by providing them with a multimedia package that hadn't been previously available.

The site is an example of how the AP is trying to adapt to an increasingly fragmented news market that depends on Internet links from search engines, online hangouts such as Facebook, and communication tools such as Twitter.

"This platform is very aligned with the current media environment," said Lou Ferrara, managing editor of sports and interactive services for the news cooperative.

To help get people's attention, the AP has set up Twitter and Facebook accounts especially for the Winter Games. Video and other material from the AP's site for the Games can be embedded into other Web sites, including people's own Facebook pages.

About 120 AP reporters, photographers, editors and videographers are being sent to Vancouver to cover the Winter Olympics, which will take place Feb. 12-28. Only NBC, which owns the television rights to the Olympics, will have a larger news staff at the event, according to the AP.

The news cooperative has covered every Olympics since they were revived in 1896.

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