Facebook and Periscope for Live Coverage

The Guardian U.S has been carrying out some experiments with live coverage of events using Periscope and Facebook Live Video. Facebook Live has just been made available to all users of iPhone in the U.S and will rolled out to the rest of the world in the next few weeks.

The Guardian’s Mobile Innovation Lab (which receives funding from the Knight Foundation) has been putting live streaming platforms to the test by using them to broadcast from events, where the streaming format best suits an informal behind the scenes style of coverage. Madeline Welsh reports on their findings for Nieman Lab;

‘This experiment was designed to test the differences between the two technologies and see how a reporter, who had used them before was able to use them in the course of their report. “We’re interested in what it takes for a newsroom staffer to do things that look, on the surface easy, but outside regular work patterns,” Koren said. “And what does it take to bring in new audiences from these services?”’

Experimentation is giving the Guardian a chance to understand their live streaming audience and how to find them. Madeline Welsh points to experiments by other newsrooms (including this report on Facebook by the BBC at the time of the Paris terror attacks). Whilst the various live streaming platforms have nuanced differences (for example periscope videos disappear, Facebook videos don’t), a newsroom also needs to look at which platform it already has the biggest audience figures, so it doesn’t have to find a new community on which to test it’s broadcasts.

Competition between Facebook and Twitter for dominance over the live broadcasting niche is currently very hot.

Facebook’s expansion of its streaming facility, which was initially only available to celebrities and journalists is part of a wider focus on video for the company. Adweek report;

‘Video overall is becoming a bigger part of the platform. According to Facebook’s fourth-quarter earnings report, people watch 100 million hours of video every day on the platform. And nearly 1 billion people around the world access Facebook daily through a mobile device.’

However, Twitter (which owns Periscope) is also developing its offer as it announces a new partnership with GoPro which enables live streaming from the wearable camera straight to the Periscope. This from the Guardian;

‘On a basic level, the integration means that some of the very precarious uses of the video streaming site will become a lot easier for GoPro owners. As Periscope noted in its announcement, users who were previously attaching their iPhones to drones and balloons – or submerging them under water – can now switch to GoPro as a much more reliable option. The opportunities for live-streaming extreme sports are also extensive. The GoPro team said it plans to broadcast live with Periscope at the upcoming X Games in Aspen, Colorado.’