Reuters Video Archive – unlocking the 20th Century

From the bruising Trump, Clinton election campaign to the unprecedented turmoil brought about by BREXIT, from England football disaster to genuine tragedy of the Istanbul airport bombings, these are hectic times in the news business. Numerous long running major stories vying for position alongside breaking news to gain prime position in the headlines and news bulletins. Reuters coverage of these events is delivered with its customary professionalism and integrity and with such a heavy focus on news; it’s an ideal time for Reuters News Agency to launch a brand new service offering Broadcasters unprecedented access to its unique archive collection. With the launch of the Reuters Video Archive, subscribers will be able to augment their coverage with relevant footage, be it comparing the US election of 2016 with a more collaborative campaign run by Roosevelt in 1936 or honouring the centenary of the battle of the Somme.  The Reuters Video Archive has been compiled since the foundation of the television operation and now contains over a million news clips, covering world events from 1896 to the present day.


One can hardly discuss an archive without a little history lesson.  The Reuters Television operation was established in 1957 in the guise of the British Commonwealth International Newsfilm Agency (BCINA), which became Visnews in 1962 and was part owned by BBC, NBC, Reuters and others.  In 1992, Reuters bought the entire operation and along with it the video library which contained not only all the Visnews footage back to 1957 but also several, wholly owned, newsreel archives, including Gaumont Graphic and British Paramount – which, in their day, were direct rivals to Movietone and Pathe – and comprised material from the 1910’s to the early 1960’s and to top it all, footage from the very start of film cinema, including the coronation of Tzar Nicholas II in 1896. This unique collection was stored on 16mm and 35mm film and video tape and was successfully made available to the Reuters newsroom, broadcast customers, documentary and film makers via an analogue operation until the 21st century.

Throughout the years, those of us involved in the Reuters Video Archive dreamed of the day when the entire collection would be digitised and available on-line. The project to make that dream a reality started in 2013 when Reuters embarked on a major project to digitise the tens of thousands of film cans and video tapes in the archive. That project will complete by the end of 2016 and today over a million news clips can be viewed and downloaded via Reuters Media Express.

Whether you are looking for specific events such as the bringing down of the Berlin Wall or Britain’s signing up to European Union membership in 1976 –

………or more abstract searching for material that you wouldn’t even have thought of – “a cocktail of the loopiest news items of 1936” anyone?


For more information about our comprehensive collection of international news stories dating back to 1851, please visit us here, where you can sign up for a free 30-day, no-obligation trial by completing this form.


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