Making History (Profitable)

By Chris Creegan

The internet has made it possible for news broadcasters to offer vast quantities of footage to the general public – whether free or at a cost.

Thanks to the advent of 24-hour rolling news, video journalism is truly driven by a focus is on the ‘NEW’ the ‘NOW’ and the ‘NEXT’. What is the freshest angle to the story? And how is it going to develop in the future?

But now, thanks to the online medium, there is another element that comes into play. Quite the opposite of the ‘NOW’, but rather, the ‘THEN’.

What I am referring to is video archive.

The internet has made it possible for news broadcasters to upload vast quantities of video footage onto their websites from the years gone by.

They offer a vast, searchable resource of news for users to plough through at their leisure. This is something that was never possible solely within the TV medium.

Thanks to the net, we are able to revisit the same story as many times as we want, or find old stories at the push of a button.

The BBC news website, for example, allows you to search through the past three years of footage – thousands upon thousands of video stories are available:

screenshot courtesy of BBC news online


And then of course there is the BBC Archive, found at BBC Motion Gallery. This, unlike the news website resources, is a paid service, where you can purchase clips from the news archive dating as far back as far back as 60 years:

The BBC Archives boasts over eight million hours of BBC content


The BBC Archives website also acts as the exclusive global representative of footage from CBS, CCTV in China, the Japanese broadcaster NHK, and Austalian broadcaster ABC.

ITN also offers a similar resource – ITN Source:

screenshot courtesy of ITN source


ITN Source is one of the world’s largest commercial video resources, and it represents the world’s largest collection of video libraries. This includes not just ITV, but also Reuters, Fox News, Nine Network (Australia), UTV, ANI, and Fox Movietone (as well as other specialist collections).

Whilst these are perhaps the best examples of online news footage, this is by no means a niche practice. Most other broadcasters make use of the internet to provide a resource of online video.

As news broadcasters continue to acquire more and more footage through external contribution and citizen journalism, the need to keep it well-organised and readily accessible will remain vital.

The fact that this footage can then be sold on highlights the financial benefits of such a practice, and so the rewards to companies that engage in it are plentiful.

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