Live streaming, as with any innovative medium, has its ups and downs. An unfortunate event which has brought it to light recently was the recent tragic events in Virginia, USA, in which Alison Parker and Adam Ward were gunned down during an interview on live TV, with the killer filming and uploading the entire scene on social media, we look into the effects social media, in particular live streaming, has on society today.
When we look at innovative and popular social media services such as the live streaming apps Periscope and Meerkat, Snapchat with its 4 billion pieces of content uploaded daily, and Instagram which has 300 million active users each month, the potential to disrupt and create problems for broadcasters and established industries is huge.
With the opportunity to broadcast live video wherever you are with just a mobile phone, the need for live TV reporting equipment; vans, cameras and sound operators is increasingly becoming obsolete. Now, if a bystander witnesses a newsworthy event, live streaming apps allow them to become an amateur news reporter for the day – or at the very least a cameraman!
These new apps are not just influencing news reporting and the media landscape but also the sports industry. The ‘fight of the century’ provides a good example. Broadcasters of the boxing match between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao in May suffered as a result of Periscope users live streaming the match for free, rather than paying the $100 pay-per-view charge.
The US National Hockey League, have tried to fight the growth of user generated content by banning live streaming apps in its games. There are clearly concerns where live streaming is concerned. But why? Of course, money. But also brand reputation and experience. Let’s take Wimbledon, the UK’s biggest tennis competition for example.
Wimbledon is broadcast live on BBC throughout the tournament had its own live Periscope stream of the ticket queue outside the grounds, but it banned the use of the app inside the tennis courts. By setting these standards for the tournament are the All England Lawn Tennis Club trying to preserve the quality of content created on site? Or perhaps the image of the brand and the tournament? Or even the eagerness to capture moments on court that not only distract supporters from watching the game instead of their phone but also distracting the players? It’s most likely to be all of the above. But does it even matter?
Whatever the reasons may be, how can you ‘ban’ something that is legally available to the public and is socially encouraged?
The idea behind these apps is that, business aside, they’ve been made to better social media, social interaction and networking. So as a product and service, they’re almost ‘too disruptive’ because they cause complications for already well-established industries, leaving governing bodies only one choice: to ban the use of these apps to protect their TV deals and reputations.
But is it really a huge problem? Do those that ‘ban’ these apps think that enough people are going to tune in to somebody’s shaky, handheld Periscope video, with vertical coverage of a hockey playoff game, or a boxing match from a fairly poor viewpoint?
As well as comparatively bad coverage, the cameras, replays and commentary happening on top rate sports broadcasting channels all provide those vital, in-game, details, and in their own industry they are second to none, using features such as the SkyCam and HD slow motion replays. Can you imagine a football match without watching the goal or the red card tackle again in replay?
It’s uncertain how the live streaming app market will develop, and how their relationships with related industries will work. But it looks like they could be here to stay, if they’re allowed!