House of Representatives Protest Underlines the Potential of Live-Streaming
There's an interesting, and highly relevant, use-case example for live-streaming going on in the US House of Representatives right now (at the time of publication).
At around 11:30am this morning, Democrat representatives gathered together on the House floor to stage a sit-in in protest of the House's refusal to bring gun control legislation to a vote - a move sparked in response to the recent attack in Orlando. Shortly after the beginning of the protest, however, the House cameras and microphones were shut off, meaning broadcaster C-SPAN lost coverage of the event.
C-SPAN has no control over the U.S. House TV cameras.- CSPAN (@cspan) June 22, 2016
As a result, several of the participating representatives took to social media to share images of what was happening and to help spread the word.
But then, C-SPAN switched to another alternative - live video being posted by the representatives to live-streaming platforms like Periscope and Facebook Live.
It's a clever solution to the immediate issue at hand, helping raise awareness of an important political debate at a time where traditional methods are unable (or unwilling) to assist. But it also highlights an important element to consider in the rise of live-streaming.
Right now, through the various methods available, everyone is able to become a broadcaster in his or her own right.
No longer are people beholden to network schedules or agenda, you can start your own, live broadcasts that can be shared around the world, at any time - and given the rising prevalence of online video content and network accessibility, that's becoming an increasingly viable alternative to TV. And more than that, online media like this actually has the potential to usurp TV as the key media consumption platform of choice.
Now, that seems like it's still some way off, sure, it feels like we're still very reliant on TV for a huge amount of our everyday media consumption, and statistics show that TV is still the dominant broadcast format of choice.
But habits are clearly shifting, and that trend is likely to play an increasingly relevant in the rise of online video - and live-streaming in particular - as a genuine alternative media channel.
And even more than that, the platforms themselves are looking at ways to further integrate their video offerings direct to your TV - the Periscope app for Apple TV is already available, and take a look at this image from a patent filed by Facebook late last year.
That's right - under this system you'd be able to receive Facebook updates direct on your TV screen and interact with friends, all in one. But what if that same tool could be used to highlight video content you might want to switch across to? What if there was a way to integrate this new Facebook TV tool with your home TV to make Facebook video as easily accessible as any other channel, via your remote?
Imagine if, while you're flicking through channels, you see an update from Facebook that says your favorite actor or sports star is Live right now. You'd likely switch across, right?
Even though mobile and online video consumption is rapidly catching up to traditional TV, your home television is still prime real estate. If Facebook could connect up its video notifications - Live notifications specifically - with your TV set, that would be a compelling option that would likely attract a heap of new viewers over to Facebook's video content.
That's why Facebook is reportedly set to pay more than $50 million to a range of celebrities and media companies to have them broadcast exclusively on Facebook Live - more than 140 creators in total - because if there's enough high-quality, regularly updated Live content on the platform, they can make it into a genuine TV alternative. Quality has long been a weak point of live-streaming, but if they can get enough high profile contributors to the option, it could become a major media rival. It's not that hard to imagine Facebook creating their own Live morning show, their own celebrity interview program.
They have the capacity to do this, they have ideas in place to link their content up to both traditional and rising consumption devices. And if they can get more viewers to Live, more creators and publishers will follow. And then come the ad dollars.
Such developments could have major implications on the wider media landscape, and today's protest action in the House of Representatives underlines just how close we could be to this being a major shift.
That's not to say everyone needs to jump on Live right now, but it's definitely an area worthy of your attention. It may become a lot bigger than you might think.
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