The future of streaming video is audience navigation


The future of TV is not exploding water melons, streamed live to your smartphone. Even if BuzzFeed Motion Pictures corralled more than 800,000 viewers to watch two staffers add rubber bands to a watermelon until it exploded. (And Wired published a list of TV shows with fewer viewers)

It’s Friday afternoon, the final hour at work is so jejune. Everyone wants time to pass faster. And there is Facebook livecasting a sublimely stupid video of … I don’t know, let’s take a guess – Kittens! Who’s not going to watch? (Well, me, but that’s me.)

Remember in 2009 the airplane that landed in the Hudson River? The event that made “citizen journalism” a reality occurred when tweeted pictures of the near tragedy reached the public faster and earlier than traditional media.

Now, imagine another disaster or near disaster when moving, not still, images impact. A Facebook user with Facebook live is on the scene. The event is streamed live before any newsroom can respond in their fast response vehicles.  Live video, streaming from smartphones in the hands of people on the scene is not TV, but it is likely to be part of TV’s future.

There are several video streaming apps available. Some have been around for several years. I have had UStream  on my iPad and iPhone for at least 5 years. But here’s the thing; I haven’t used it more than once or twice and that was just to demo it to others. And there is another app I deleted … oh, such a long time ago … another streaming video app … can‘t even remember its name.

For you to watch my live streaming Ustream video, I have to tell you where to find it, when to find it and you have to come to me. A bit traditional TVish and pretty useless, really.

It is not so much that streaming video is the future. It’s easy navigation to find it that is the future.

Periscope (for Twitter), Facebook Live, and others that come with your followers and friends attached are the future, not just for your kid’s birthday parties so far away members of the family can watch, but for news organisations, freelance journalists, and melon growers throughout the world.

UPDATE: 19 April 16:00 Wired reports “YouTube launches live 360-degree video streaming” although not something we can do from our mobiles, yet, But you can build your own camera (open source, of course) for around £21,000

There is more on all of this in Nieman Lab’s “Live, local, late breaking: On Facebook Live, news outlets take a cue from TV (but don’t call it TV)”

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