Microsoft and newsgathering organisation Associated Press have inked a deal to develop an advertising-supported online video news network early next year.

Microsoft will supply the technology, video player and ad support while AP's broadcast division will provide the news content, featuring around fifty stories each day. Every news clip will be preceded by 15-30 seconds of revenue-generating ads and run for around one minute.

The online video network will initially target AP's 3,500 member organizations which will receive the service free.

But Jim Kathman, head of strategy for the broadcast division leaves open the possibility that others could join. He says: "We want to make it as large a network as possible."

Says MSN director of advertising and business strategy Todd Herman: "The combination of AP news excellence and Microsoft's scalable technology will enable our advertisers to better reach the huge audience of people who now turn primarily to the internet for their information."

AP, a nonprofit cooperative owned by US member newspapers and broadcasters, also sells text news to non-member companies such as Yahoo and Time Warner's AOL unit.

Data sourced from Windows IT Pro; additional content by WARC staff