Dems’ Protest: Potent Publicity for Live Streaming

Twitter and Facebook’s live streaming capabilities have come to the fore thanks to the Democrats’ historic sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives. After the House leadership cut off the body’s official TV feed, the Dems turned to Twitter’s Periscope and Facebook Live to bring their marathon protest to the world.

Twitter is undoubtedly basking in all the free publicity from Washington; however, its live streaming abilities via Periscope will really be put to the test beginning Sept. 15 when it shows the first of ten weekly NFL Thursday night games. Periscope acquired the rights as part of a deal that Bloomberg estimated at $10 million.

On Tuesday, Twitter also increased the length allowed for short-form videos from 30 seconds to 140 seconds, and is already working with some creators to increase the lengths on its Vine service from six seconds to 140-seconds. That same day, Yahoo’s Tumblr launched its own entry in the live streaming race; it will allow users to live-stream through Google’s YouTube and other platforms.

Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Facebook has paid more than $50 million to obtain exclusive live-streaming deals with some 140 media companies, including CNN, Buzzfeed, The New York Times, The Huffington Post, NPR, Vice Media and Al Jazeera.

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But the media giants may have their hands full competing with user-generated content. In an example given by the Journal, Buzzfeed ran a 45-minute Facebook Live video in April that became the service’s most-watched – until it was beaten by a 4-minute user-generated piece that ran live the following month. The Buzzfeed piece has now been viewed 10.8 million times, the user-generated video 157.6 million.

Other live streaming players include Google’s YouTube Live and Amazon’s Twitch.

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About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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