Associated Press announces deal to provide video news in high definition from North Korea

Louise Duffy ©RapidTVNews | 30-09-2011

The Associated Press has announced an exclusive deal between its video news gathering arm, Associated Press Television News (APTN), and North Korea to provide video news coverage in high definition to international broadcasters from the country.
The three-year deal represents a unique partnership with North Korean state broadcaster KRT, and the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications. Under the deal, APTN will be the only agency to transmit broadcast-quality HD pictures of key news events in North Korea. Additionally, the agency will have exclusive rights to deliver unilateral HD video feeds for all news broadcasters wishing to transmit from the country.

The infrastructure has been put in place ahead of 2012 – when North Korea is expected to stage a series of major events to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Kim Il Sung, the founder of the communist state.

The new deal builds on a long-standing relationship with authorities in North Korea, after the agency became the first Western news organisation to open an office in Pyongyang in 2006.
In June this year, AP announced the signing of two memos of understanding and a contract with the Korea Central News Agency, including one to open an AP news bureau in Pyongyang.

Sandy MacIntyre, vice president and director of news for APTN, said: “It builds on our leadership position in covering North Korea and makes us the must-have partner for any news organisation wanting comprehensive coverage from the region – particularly high-definition video.”

Daisy Veerasingham, senior vice president of AP, said: “The move to HD in North Korea is part of APs multi-million dollar upgrade of our global newsgathering infrastructure which will see us fully HD for news in time for the London Olympics. We’ll be HD for all entertainment customers on 11 November 2011.”