Tech Side

Reuters Tessa Kaday discusses the explosion of Online Live Video


Traditionally, running the live desk at Reuters would have meant operating a satellite-delivered service which goes to hundreds of broadcasters around the world, but in recent years it’s also been about running Reuters Live Online – an over-the-internet service that is specifically designed to deliver easy-to-use live content to digital publishers. 

Launched in March 2014, Reuters claims to be the first multiple live service for online publishers. But it won’t be the last, as Tessa Kaday, who runs the desk at Reuters Video News, predicts that “this year we are going to see an explosion of live content online”.



Kaday discussed the basics of how to make live content work online successfully. Reuters had a huge infrastructure to deliver live content from across the world, an existing client base for online and was able to build a product that was easy to use for digital publishers, enabling them to transform their present digital offering of a ‘clunky’ simple stream to a service that delivered more than 6,900 hours of live coverage last year. That’s an average of 18 lives a day. But what they didn’t know was which content would work:

It’s been a matter of trial and error, plenty of error has been involved in that.

That’s partly due to understanding that the most successful stories for broadcasting may not always be the most successful for online – not every big story is suitable as a live story for online clients. For example, Kaday told delegates at news:rewired that the solar eclipse was the most successful online live story of last year. Why? The story was simple.

It wasn’t a breaking news story, there were no celebrities involved, this was a very simple, completely expected event and that was really the secret of its success. The trickiest thing about making live content work online is about making sure that people know that it’s there and more importantly making them stay there.

This was an expected event allowing Reuters Live Online to throw all of their resources into creating a strong live signal, delivering six lives from six different locations. This made it the ultimate live event as it could only be truly appreciated as it happened.

Kaday’s advice is to recognise these set piece events before they come up and build live content around it. Promoting that content ahead of time and planning is key, as well as putting it front and centre of your coverage.

But for content that cannot be planned ahead, reliability is essential:

In the past we used to think that online content was sort of less serious than broadcast content – people wouldn’t mind if it was bad quality or fell over occasionally, that’s a complete lie. If anything our online consumers are fussier and more likely to switch off if you fail them.

She added that you can break the ‘rules’:

A lot of the rules that relate to social video – about shorter being better – is quite the opposite for live. You want to be up, you want to stay up and engage people. Just because you can do something live and it’s the biggest story of the day, if it’s not engaging, developing and evolving they won’t watch it. Don’t fall into the trap of broadcasting rules.

Live content comes down to three things: get people to start watching, get people to keep watching and never stop experimenting.

This is going to be the year that live video really takes off online and I don’t think any of us are going to know what direction that’s going to go in. The important thing will be to keep experimenting.

By  on behalf of

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TECH SIDE: So many Categories…So little Time

A woman walks up the cantilever staircase at the Bank of England in London

I wanted to spend a little time with this post and explain a bit about Reuters category codes.  I feel a lot of the time, it is one of the more confusing aspects of ingesting Reuters content. At least…it is to me. You could be reading this and completely disagree; BUT… hey… you’ll find something new here. I promise.

Whether you are looking to utilize the standard ANPA coding or even contemplating something new to really dial down into our content, here’s a quick overview of the category codes within Reuters NewsML G2.

Within our XML, we have subject qcodes detailed below. These are all different variations of category codes that can be used to parse content into your CMS systems or feed via various content applications:


TECH SIDE: A Mystery; signed, sealed and deliv…< deleted>…


I was recently approached by a client with a quandary of – “Why I am missing content in our CMS system?” As I get this question fairly often I had an appropriate suspenseful music stinger prepared, but I was unable to find my pair of Ray Bans to dramatically remove and couldn’t think of a single witty pun worthy of David Caruso. Having failed at my usually outstanding CSI: Miami interpretation, we returned to real life and began to investigate the cause of what exacting was going on.

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His interpretation is actually very awful. We just humor him.

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The facts were these (in the style of Dragnet, names and places have been changed to protect the innocent): A client by the name of Bob’s Pharmacy was ingesting news and pictures into their CMS system via our Reuters Connect Content Downloader (RCCD). Their subscriptions included our Reuters North America News Service, USA Picture Service and a series of our Reuters Online Reports. The complaint was that they were missing some stories they knew to have run according to the Budgets, and they were also not receiving high resolution images.

I usually break my troubleshooting down into steps, identifying the chain reaction needed to get item X to destination Y. In this case, content was originating from the Reuters Connect delivery platform, being downloaded via Content Downloader, and ingested to their CMS system.

Firstly was to review Reuters Media Express. Media Express is a great site, especially as a troubleshooting supplement. In Media Express, you can easily review content by channel. The easiest way to do this is to find a news item in the channel you want to review and select that channel from the Source News Feeds portion of the Item Detail pane.


TECH SIDE: The WordPress – Reuters Connect RSS Lambada

Members of the all-male Chicos Mambo dance company perform during a media rehearsal of "Meli-Melo II" in Madrid

I recently spent some time this week engrossed in that technological dance of trying to figure out the best way to make something work; a complex lambada comprised of “flipping switches” on and off to ensure I am getting the best result for what I am looking to do. In this case, my dance partner was a WordPress installation fueled by Reuters Connect RSS which almost destroyed my nicely curated category section. Which, to continue my metaphor, was akin to me falling down a random set of stairs someone had decided to build on the dance floor and, if I am honest, is probably what would ACTUALLY happen if someone asked me to lambada with them in the real world. There would be no stepping on toes, I would subconsciously find the closest stairs and fall down them.

<Editor’s note>

You’re rambling…

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Anyway! Here are some of steps to make sure your techno-lambada work smoothly for you, and maybe even get you on Dancing with the Stars.

Software Prerequisites

WordPress Installation

FeedWordPress Plugin

Reuters Connect WordPress Plugin (Can be obtained from your Technical Account Manager)

Account Prerequisites

Media Express account with RSS enabled. (Contact your Account Manager to enable)

For the purposes of this post, I am starting with a completely fresh Word Press installation. I have gone through the normal installation procedure, and I am staring at my Dashboard as an administrator. If you are already familiar with WordPress, you can probably skim down a bit passed installing and enabling plugins.


TECH SIDE: The Development Feed

Visitors play "Diablo" during the Gamescom 2012 fair in Cologne

Feeding Widgets with Custom Content via the Reuters Connect Web Services

Reuters Connect Web Services delivers a vast and diverse catalog of content ranging from Sports* to Technology* to even the Oddly Enough* news that always seems to give me a good chuckle when I read it.  However, what if you want to create a feed to follow news on local companies within your city, create a channel designed specifically for news regarding nuclear energy and use that feed to source a customized widget you created for your website? Using Reuters Connect Web Services, you can do just that.

The Reuters Connect Web Services is a very robust tool to help you create customized queries into the Reuters Connect Platform. You can use it to make general channel calls, pull down news items, and even use the codes found within the news XML to grab content. The latter is exactly what we are going to do.

Being a Detroit boy, I am going to aim at creating a customized channel to pull down any news on The Big Three (Ford, GM, Fiat Chrysler). This will be done using a query that will pull a combination of news using the company symbols for Ford and GM while using a keyword match on news for Chrysler.


TECH SIDE: Migrations…Migrations…Migrations…

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Hello Everyone;

While we wait for the proverbial hourglass to stop spinning, I thought I might take a few moments to introduce this blog and provide a mission statement, if you will, as to what I hope to accomplish in this series. My goal is to provide to you dear readers a unique perspective and down-to-earth outlook on the technical side of life within Reuters Agency. These posts will be geared toward the technical folk in your company, but I hope my writing will intrigue everyone who reads this enough to begin asking questions and learning new things about your Reuters Agency services. My hope is to advise you on getting the most value out of your services by giving you tips, tricks, best practices and essential communication directly from the Developers, Product and Account Managers within Reuters Agency.

If you find that that I am getting excessively technical, let me know. This blog may appeal more to the technical teams, but it is for everybody.


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Beginning late last year, and heading through first quarter of 2013 Reuters Agency will begin it’s very own transitional year. We will be migrating/updating three delivery platforms which have passed their prime. Assyst and MDN (Multimedia Delivery Network) will find themselves retired with honors and WNE (World News Express), our satellite broadcast delivery product, will be itself the target of a shiny new upgrade.

Over the next 18 months, Reuters will upgrade the WNE infrastructure and client-side hardware to enhance our service for broadcast customers with faster support, more storage, and access to higher quality video content.


Assyst is a legacy satellite delivery platform for TV scripts. They were delivered via satellite to a legacy integrated data receiver (IRD), and output to you via a serial output. These scripts were migrated to our WNE (World News Express) and Media Express platforms. As this migration has all but been finalized, I won’t spend too much time on it.


Multimedia Data Network is our legacy platform for delivering print content via satellite or via FTP.  This migration has been broken down into two stages. You should have received an email notification on the MDN-FTP portion of the migration.

As of May 13th, all clients obtaining their feeds via MDN-FTP will begin to be migrated over to Reuters Connect FTP-Push. From a client perspective, very little changes.