You’ve may have heard of some or all of these live streaming apps including Periscope, Meerkat, Facebook Live, Muvi Studio, NomadCast and Sywork. Maybe you are already using one these. There’s no doubt they are popular – Periscope gained a million users in the first ten days after its iPhone launch, and many more after its release on Android. Twitter acquired Periscope, and now users can tweet links to live-streams. All these apps are not the same, so let’s take a look at what they do and how they differ from each other:
- Meerkat – Available for iOS and Android, broadcasts to followers. Videos are deleted immediately after broadcast.
- Periscope – Available for iOS and Android, broadcasts to followers. Videos live for 24 hours before deletion, though you can save them to your camera roll.
- Facebook Live – This app got off to a controversial start - at the moment it’s for celebrities only – yes, that’s right! It broadcasts to a celebrity’s followers with watch comments overlaid on the stream. The streams reach viewers while in progress and pushes alerts to subscribers who’ve recently interacted with the page. Videos are not deleted.
- Muvi Studio – Clever name, huh? Muvi is a 3rd party provider for corporate clients and broadcasters by offering a cloud infrastructure for Live and On-demand services. Available for desktop, mobile apps, connected TV, and soon for the Roku player.
- NomadCast - Known as “Facebook live streaming for commoners” streams directly on Facebook and Twitter, providing playable video on Facebook walls and in Twitter feeds.
- Sywork – This is a live streaming platform for illustrators and digital artists, allowing them to show off their work. Viewers can watch live illustrations.
So, who has been using these apps? They have attracted the attention of media and broadcasting companies as they offer a very low cost way to reach new audiences. CNN used Periscope during their coverage of the birth of Princess Charlotte, with a reporter touring London on the top deck of a bus, interviewing riders, and showing the sites. In the political arena, David Cameron used Periscope to broadcast his first post-election address from number 10. Musicians have also been using them. The Rolling Stones used Periscope to broadcast their “secret” show in Los Angeles in May this year. Local bands use them to broadcast to their followers.
What has become controversial is the use of these apps at live sports events. Sponsors of events fear losing live TV audience to viewing broadcasts from attendees at events. One of the most well-known instances of this was during a big pay-per-view boxing match, where ring side attendees broadcast the match. Responses from the various sports leagues have been mixed to date. Wimbledon banned audience members from broadcasting matches, as has the PGA and NHL, but not the NFL.
In the view of many observers, these mobile device broadcasts shouldn’t be considered a threat to the mainstream professional broadcasts from TV networks. Would someone really watch an entire sporting event broadcast from a hand held phone, with jerky motion and accompanying background noise?
What is likely to happen is the networks will realize an opportunity here. Think of all the potential phone broadcasts at an NFL game from audience around a stadium. Those could be incorporated into the network’s broadcasts – picking the best clips from the live audience perspective. This would enhance what the home viewer sees, delivering a “just like they were there” experience.
What does the future hold? It’s so early in the technology cycle, with the expected evolution of these apps in terms of quality and functionality that it’s too difficult to predict. It is safe to assume a significant impact, and as broadcasters experiment with incorporating audience broadcast content, the viewing experience overall will improve.
No matter what the future holds, Limelight will ready to deliver your video at broadcast quality to a global audience. Limelight Networks combines the power and reach of one of the world’s largest private content delivery networks (CDN) with a purpose-built intelligent platform to deliver your video reliably and at broadcast quality, anywhere in the world. Learn more about our solutions for video delivery and Media and Broadcasters on the Limelight website, or reach me directly at email@example.com .