The Associated Press and Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday launched a new service which allows the news cooperative's member Web sites to offer free video news clips and share in advertising revenue generated from the service.

The AP Online Video Network, which is powered by Microsoft's MSN Video, went live after midnight and featured video news stories of New Orleans cleaning up after Mardi Gras and a special section about the six-month anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the storm's legacy in the Gulf Coast region.

About 40 video clips a day produced by the AP will be included in the service, which will cover national and international news as well as business, technology and entertainment stories.

The AP, the world's oldest and largest newsgathering agency, said the service will reach an initial audience of 45 million unique visitors. A cooperative owned by U.S. news organizations, the AP is offering the videos free to its members and other customers, with revenue coming from advertisements placed before the news clips.