CoverItLive, which makes a free hosted live blogging platform I like a great deal (see previous coverage), is launching a new "always on" feature called CoverItLive Enterprise, that it will sell to major online news outlets.
The idea is that instead of (or in addition to) running story pages that embed individual CoverItLive live blogs, a site can maintain one blog page with a perpetual live blog window. It will come alive with content when writers are participating in a live blog. A big advantage, for writers, is that they don't have to get an embed code from the CoverItLive system and then create a story to include the code in. They just start writing in the CoverItLive tool (which is simple).
The advantage for the publisher is they can just have one page with the always-ready live blog placeholder, and users can get used to going there for regularly scheduled live blogs or for breaking news; advertisers can also sponsor the live page easily. Given that the time users spend on a live blog page is likely to be much greater than the time spent on a static story page, these could become valuable ad vehicles.
The feature isn't live yet on any sites. CoverItLive has created working mockups, like one for the city site Philly.com. In it, the site's live blog page is running ongoing commentary about the Obama inauguration. If other Philly.com writers were running other live blogs at the same time, the user would be able to switch between them through the Live Now list to the right of the active live blog.
In future releases, CoverItLive Enterprise will get an API that will allow site managers to tap it into online company directories, eliminating the need for individual reporters to create their own CoverItLive logins.
Since this feature is designed for professional news sites and for "people who report the news for money," says CEO Keith McSpurren, it is also being designed as a revenue-generating feature. While McSpurren is not currently charging for access to this feature, he does plan to, in April or May, at prices ranging from $30 to $500 a month, depending on either the number of users or traffic a site has. To get into the beta of the service, send a query to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some news outlets get live blogging, and some don't. In my view, live blogging is an inevitable and positive upgrade from news blogging (for some stories), and also a good compliment to live news television reporting. CoverItLive is already on the money with its current service, and this new product is even more appropriate for mainstream media sites.