I’ll admit it. When the live streaming apps Meerkat and Periscope were launched earlier this year, I was pretty excited. I downloaded them, tried them both out, watched streams from all round the world and chattered about them to anyone who would listen.
After a while, the shine wore off a little. There was a lot of junk being ‘broadcast’. I became more selective about which livestreams I would watch – only exciting breaking news would tempt me to click on a link. I started turning off notifications. I pondered deleting the apps.
And then the Royal Baby arrived and everything changed. Hands down the best use of Periscope has been by CNN correspondent Max Foster who has been continuously livestreaming over the past view days. Not just a few snippets here and there either. This is hours of raw footage from inside the media cordon at the Lindo Wing hospital. Or over at Buckingham Palace. Or walking the streets of London giving viewers a guided tour of the sights. This man is amazing!
So while the rest of the world was waiting for the hourly 60 second update on CNN, Periscope viewers chatted with Max, listened to him reading out media emails, watched him check with other reporters about breaking news, and also (a bit strangely) watched him do his live cross to the camera even though we could only hear his side of the conversation. It was really like being there – you were close up to the steps of the Lindo Ward, waiting for the Royal Baby to appear – and he streamed virtually non-stop for hours, popping in and out to give updates to the Periscope audience. The number of concurrent viewers tipped over 1,000 at one point with comments flooding in from all over the world and plenty of Kiwi and Australian viewers amongst them.
Even today, he is relaxed and chatting with the audience about baby names and all the bits and pieces he knows about the royal family, the official protocols and info from his interviews with Prince William and other family members.
This is a great strategy for increasing his reach and audience size and establishing himself firmly as a regular Periscope broadcaster. While some areas are currently off limits to livestreaming (such as sports events where media rights have been sold) it certainly shakes up the broadcasting world while giving viewers real ‘behind-the-scenes’ access from the comfort of their couch.