NEW YORK (Reuters) - Thomson Reuters Corp will launch a video news service in June for financial professionals who use its terminals, part of a $1 billion plan to appeal to a new generation of customers.
The service will provide live and searchable financial markets coverage, analysis and breaking news.
Unlike traditional television stations, it will not run all day, will not rely on advertising and will be largely unavailable to the public. Clients, however, will be able to access it around the clock.
Paying customers will be able to access on-demand news segments in the same way people watch video clips on Google Inc's YouTube.
The project is part of a $1 billion program to update the company's products and infrastructure to make them more appealing to financial professionals accustomed to using the Internet to get information.
Thomson Reuters has been testing the service since last October, and is launching it during a time of uncertainty for media outlets.
Many newspapers, TV stations and news outlets are losing advertising revenue as people get more news online, often for free. Some news and information companies may be forced out of business. Others are trying to figure out how to get people to pay for their news.
Investing during the global economic downturn, which has led to layoffs in the financial industry, is what the company must do to keep performing well, said Devin Wenig, chief executive of the Thomson Reuters Markets Division.
Reuters journalists are contributing to the programing, and Thomson Reuters is bringing on 120 staff to run it. It hopes clients such as banks and investment companies will also supply video and create their own channels.
The new service is designed to give financial professionals news they can use to make trades and other business decisions, but does not replace news articles, Wenig said.
"To me, this is just Reuters News 2.0," he said.
The main studios are in Hong Kong, London and New York, and the company is sending Web cameras to other bureaus around the world.
Clients of Thomson Reuters' premium service will get the video offering as part of their subscriptions. Other clients will have to pay extra for access.
Unlike General Electric Co's CNBC cable news business channel, News Corp's Fox Business Network and the TV operations of Thomson Reuters competitor Bloomberg LP, the new service will not be live 24 hours a day.
Customers will be able to select videos on channels grouped by category, such as foreign exchange, equities or political news.
They can find key words in transcripts that accompany the videos, send whole segments or parts via e-mail to other people, and send segments to their Blackberry mobile devices to watch later. They also can get news alerts through e-mail and instant message for new video.
The service will offer content from third parties such as ForexTV, financial commentary website Breakingviews.com and business news website TheStreet.com.
It will not compete with cable news networks that rely on advertising.
Targeting a narrowly defined, paying audience works better for the company, Wenig said. "This isn't infotainment."
Reporting by Robert MacMillan; Editing by Toni Reinhold