AAP LiveWire looks to go global

AAP’s LiveWire reporting tool is expanding as corporate entities begin to embrace it and international news agencies show interest, AAP editor- in-chief Tony Gillies says.

A multimedia live news reporting tool capable of sharing social media, video, text and images in real time, LiveWire was launched in 2012.

It is used by Australian mastheads including News Corp titles The Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, The Advertiser and Courier-Mail for their morning news blogs which combine traffic and weather information with top stories, sport and “things that are being discussed out in the community”, Mr Gillies says.

The rolling news is run by AAP staff. “We have dedicated live news producers embedded in the newsrooms of those mastheads and we work collaboratively with them to produce a bespoke service,” he says.

“I describe it as morning radio on the web…it’s a real conversation, where people can contribute and you can talk to an audience in an entirely different way.”

Mr Gillies said the product was designed “with journalists in mind”. After finding the licensing business model prohibitive with similar products like ScribbleLive and CoverItLive, AAP developed its own platform to take a better value proposition to its subscribers “where we weren’t necessarily selling technology – we were selling good journalism”.

While technology was a great and important enabler, Mr Gillies says “it’s not about the technology, it’s about the simplicity of using it”.

Canada Press and Belgian news agency Belga are currently considering switching to LiveWire, while German agency DPA and Swedish agency TT have also shown interest, Mr Gillies said.

AAP is also finding a source of revenue where it previously had not: outside the newsroom. Without interfering with its daily news activities, AAP uses the structure and skills of its workforce to create “highly engaging” products for the corporate sector.

“LiveWire is a great example of how companies can communicate with their staff,” Mr Gillies said.

“We’ve pitched to industry bodies and large companies where they have 20,000 employees.”

LiveWire can provide a mix of corporate information live in a company intranet. “It could be a message from a CEO, or policy information from HR, but it also could be industry-related news as it happens,” Mr Gillies said.

“It’s a good internal communication tool and proof of that pudding is the live news stream we do for our own staff.

“LiveWire is a really intuitive tool – it’s all drag and drop, everything is pre-coded, and that allows you to focus not on the technology…but more on the content that you’re creating – the best headlines, the best words, the right selection of images, the judicious selection of social media.

“Our live streams are conversational by nature but underpinning it all are the rigours of journalism. We get what’s in our posts because we were there. We don’t cut corners. It is not opinion or conjecture.”

The breakdown between media and corporate adoption of LiveWire was about 70-30, but Mr Gillies predicted there was potential for growth in the corporate sector.

“It’s quite a labour intensive process to do it properly and that’s our value proposition – we’ve got the right skill set, the right labour, the right news smarts to pull this off.

“The technology enables us to do this stuff, but it’s our core news values that make this work.”

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