New Facebook feature could let you share live video

4 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Brands, Platforms, The Live Video Labyrinth And How Everyone Can Win.

The world’s largest social network is testing a new feature that will enable its 1.5 billion users to use their smartphones to shoot video so other people can see what they are doing as it happens. After giving celebrities the option to broadcast live video to their followers, Facebook is now rolling out this “Live” streaming feature to iOS users in the U.S.

With Periscope and Meerkat being two of the breakout stars of this year’s SXSW, and Snapchat serving as the primary engagement tool for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, live video platforms have taken the media, political and business worlds by storm. The feature was tacked onto the Facebook Mentions app, which the social network offers only to high-profile figures—or, as of September, verified users—who want to interact with fans easily and monitor chatter about themselves.

Although live streaming has been around since the early days of CU-SeeMe and Ustream, its newest renditions present opportunities for remote digital engagement that have never been seen before — including on mobile — and everyone is trying to figure out how to leverage it. The feature represents Facebook’s latest challenge to online messaging service Twitter, which introduced a live video application called Periscope earlier this year. Once you tap to “Go Live,” you will see the number of viewers tuning in to your live stream, the names of your Facebook friends who are watching, and whatever comments pop out in real time. But, concurrently, these platforms pose potential problems for brands that want to deliver controlled experiences; you may recall the issues for HBO and Showtime caused by Periscope during the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight. Generally, these platforms also present challenges like scaling to enterprise-size audiences and convincing audiences to adopt these new forms of engagement.

This isn’t the first time that Facebook Inc. has copied others’ ideas in an attempt to ensure its social network remains the leading digital hangout. In recent years, Facebook also has embraced the hashtag symbol, a Twitter technique for flagging major events and topics of conversation, and cloned an option to check into specific places that was popularized by Foursquare.

There’s one key difference between Facebook’s service and other platforms like Periscope: Once recorded, videos will be archived and viewable on a user’s timeline. In another move of mimicry, Facebook is introducing another feature called “Collage” that will automatically bundle photos and video taken in the same place or at the same event into a slideshow.

In a blog post, Facebook noted that the new functionality is aimed at interacting with close contacts, rather than the wide net cast by streams on Meerkat or Periscope. As it becomes easier for organizations to successfully integrate live video into their digital media strategies, they need to avoid the pitfalls and improve customer engagement while boosting their brand. Facebook is touting live video and Collage as a leap forward in its attempt to bring its users closer together even though they may be located thousands of miles apart.

But you might soon start receiving a push notification when one of your “close friends” (as designated by Facebook’s algorithm) starts a live broadcast. Eventually, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hopes to deploy the virtual reality technology that the company acquired last year in a $2 billion purchase of Oculus to transform video into an even more-lifelike encounter. Primary among them is the viability of controlling proprietary content when most viewers have a device in their pocket that could instantly rebroadcast any event to thousands of other viewers, with or without a license to do so. The practice has forced copyright owners to monitor Periscope for violations of their rights and notify Twitter so it can block or take down the videos. The NHL banned media from using Periscope or Meerkat, and the PGA Tour recently revoked a reporter’s credentials after she used Periscope to broadcast golfers practicing.

Why this matters: It’s been less than a year since live-streaming first gained traction with smartphone users, and early entrants like Meerkat and Periscope are already getting competition from big tech. Although each of these organizations has the right to control how its content is distributed, there may be a better approach than prohibiting such platforms.

Live-video broadcasting services could present a slippery slope, but the viewers it takes away from televised distribution might not outweigh what could be saved and gained in promotion, marketing and newfound viewership. Twitter acquired and launched Periscope shortly after, and in August, the company reported that Periscope had hit 10 million accounts and 2 million active daily users. For instance, the MLB is taking an experimental approach, monitoring fans’ usage of streaming apps to see how they can benefit from the new social media platforms. With Facebook Live, however, your friends and people you actually know will be more likely to tune in, making them a far-more engaged audience for your live antics and oversharing.

Alex’s Lemonade Stand, a nonprofit that raises money to help children with cancer, took its local efforts global by using Blue Jeans Primetime, a video event tool. Over video, participants were able to engage, interact and draw inspiration from other volunteers as they headed out into their yards to raise money for the organization. For more demanding tasks that still need to reach a wide audience, try video conferencing platforms like Blue Jeans Network or Citrix’s GoToMeeting. Several other content consumption trends are also introducing new possibilities for video, including the popularity of Netflix to “binge watch” shows and the recent availability of HBO streaming and consumer demand toward channel unbundling.

For example, most people only truly require live TV for things like championship fights, elections and sports games, and it’s not too far off to imagine that people will opt for cable packages that offer streamlined options in the future.

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